By Stefanos Evripidou
PRESIDENT NICOS Anastasiades yesterday appealed to anyone with knowledge of the whereabouts of missing Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots to come forward and put an end to the “most tragic dimension of the drama” that Cypriots have been living for almost half a century.
In a written statement, after a meeting at the Presidential Palace on the issue of missing persons, Anastasiades noted that decisive action was needed to heal the wounds of the families of the missing either from 1963-1964 or 1974, who are “tormented and suffering from the agony and uncertainty, the doubt and fear about the fate of their loved ones”.
“The time limits for the effective investigation of the fate of all our missing have narrowed and are being exhausted with every day that goes by. We must now act decisively, to find and open the graves, to give answers to the relatives of the missing about the fate of their loved ones and to heal the wounds of the past,” he said.
The president argued that the primary aim of the investigation into the missing is to secure the necessary information and to locate and excavate sites where the missing are buried, as a first step in the arduous scientific process that follows.
“And that is why I appeal to all those who know or have information about the sites where there are buried missing Turkish Cypriots or missing Greek Cypriots and fallen from the 1963-64 period and/or the two phases of the invasion of 1974, to give us this information and to provide the appropriate authorities and the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP) in Cyprus with all the evidence in their possession.”
He called on any Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots with information “to perform their ethical, humanitarian and patriotic duty”.
He also called on Turkey to respect its legal obligations and its treaty commitments and “to contribute decisively to the solution of this enormous and lingering humanitarian issue” by opening the archives of the Turkish military and by allowing free access by the CMP to the military areas in the occupied areas but also in its own territory.
The Cypriot government will continue to support by all possible means the “very important” humanitarian work of the CMP, said Anastasiades, who also thanked the government of Kuwait for its recent decision to provide €200,000 to cover the needs of the CMP.
The meeting on the missing at the Palace was attended by the attorney-general, the ministers of foreign affairs and justice, the police chief and other officials.
According to the CMP website, the official numbers of missing is 1,508 Greek Cypriots and 493 Turkish Cypriots.
As of July 16, 2013, the CMP has received 984 sets of remains, visited and opened 754 burial sites of which 491 did not contain any human remains, and identified 415 missing individuals (340 Greek Cypriots and 75 Turkish Cypriots).