By Angelos Anastasiou
A Turkish man has contacted the Cypriot Foreign ministry claiming he might be a Greek Cypriot who went missing during the 1974 Turkish invasion, news portal Sigmalive reported on Friday.
Citing “fully credible” sources, the website said the man, who lives permanently in Turkey, claims to have indications suggesting he might be a Greek Cypriot transported to Turkey as a child, during the invasion.
According to the story, in contact with the foreign ministry, which was initiated by the man a few months ago and remains ongoing, he expressed the wish to undergo DNA testing in order to confirm his suspicions.
At present, the foreign ministry is examining three options in order to go ahead with DNA testing – either in Greece, the occupied areas, or Turkey.
But the ministry remains sceptical of such claims, as they have repeatedly proven false in the past.
“No one knows who this man is, but he claims to have evidence and indications that he might be a Greek Cypriot missing person,” an unnamed source told the portal.
“It is our obligation to investigate the case, even if the chances that he is who he claims to be are minimal.”
Sigmalive said the man will most likely travel to Greece within the month to give a DNA sample.
In a statement on Friday, the foreign ministry confirmed the story but declined comment on grounds of sensitivity for the families of missing persons.
“Such reports often cause unfair and unnecessary emotional distress to the relatives of missing persons, as similar claims have in the past proven baseless,” the statement said.
“All cases and information touching on the humanitarian issue of missing persons are being handled with due seriousness and responsibility by the competent authorities. […] With full respect to the families of missing persons, the Foreign ministry will announce any developments as they may come up.”
This view was echoed by head of the organisation of families of missing persons Nicos Theodosiou.
“Representing the families of missing persons, I must say that we need to consider the suffering souls of these people over all these years,” he said.
“Making such a story public when investigation has not been concluded certainly does not help families. The press needs to exercise more restraint so that no more suffering is caused to the families.”
A similar case came up in 2007, when Turkish national Hakan Kutevu from Adana, Turkey, claimed he could be Christakis Georgiou, a boy taken to Turkey in 1974 at age five.
Although Kutevu was the same age and had scars and birthmarks consistent with Georgiou’s, DNA testing proved negative.