Presidential Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs Photis Photiou said on Sunday that due to Turkey`s stance on missing persons, there may be no remains for identification by the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP) by 2017.
Speaking during the funeral for Greek Cypriot, Themis Demetriades, who went missing during the 1974 Turkish invasion at the age of 18, Photiou said that the current situation was tragic.
There had been a radical reduction of the number of remains discovered in the north, he said, and warned that if the current situation continued, then by 2017 there would be no remains of Greek Cypriots to be identified by the CMP anthropological lab.
Photiou said Turkey had “the moral, political and legal obligation’ to cooperate on this with humanitarian issue so that the families of missing persons were given convincing and substantiated answers as to the fate of their relatives.
Photiou said that the danger of the door closing in this was “unfortunately within sight”.
From the 1,508 recorded Greek Cypriot and Greek missing persons, 1,019 were still missing ten years after the beginning CMP project for the exhumation, identification and return of the remains of missing persons.
He said Turkey`s responsibility and obligations were huge but it still continued to hinder initiatives.
Photiou said Turkey refuses to implement ECHR decisions with regard to Greek Cypriot missing persons, as well as Council of Europe and other international resolutions on the issue.
In fact, he added, Ankara and the Turkish army had instead begun “the inhumane and criminal act of destroying sites of mass burial of Greek Cypriots and have relocated their remains to unknown sites”.
Photiou added that Ankara also refuses to hand over information from its military archives on the fate of Greek Cypriots and Greeks who went missing, and refuses to identify the sites where missing persons were buried after the hostilities. (CNA)