Turkey should give access to Cyprus to find missing persons
The government is striving to solve the humanitarian issue of missing persons, which decades later is still causing pain and anger, Government Spokesman Nikos Christodoulides said on Sunday. He called on Turkey to cooperate and give the Committee on Missing Persons access to military zones and archives, in order to carry out effective research.
Speaking at the funeral of six persons from the community of Trahoni Kythrea who were murdered by Turkish troops during the 1974 Turkish invasion of the island and have been missing since then, Christodoulides referred to the ordeal of the families of missing persons, who are trying to determine what happened to their loved ones, and noted that Cyprus has had its share of trials, pain and bitterness.
“However, we never stopped believing that we can achieve our historic continuation and the restoration of our social fibre, that we can create once again the conditions for the reunification of our homeland and peaceful coexistence,” he said.
Eleni Themistocleous, aged 46, and her four daughters aged 11 to 25 years, as well as her 6-month-old grandson, were shot down by Turkish troops on 14 August, 1974. They were fleeing their village along with other relatives and neighbours in an effort to avoid being captured by the Turkish troops, when one was injured by enemy fire. The injured man's wife and son, as well as Eleni, her daughters, and others, ran to help him. Gun shots were heard and none were seen again.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Since then, the fate of hundreds of people remains unknown.
The Committee on Missing Persons has been established, upon agreement between the leaders of the two communities, with the scope of exhuming, identifying and returning the remains of missing persons to their relatives.