Presidential Commissioner for Humanitarian Issues and Overseas Cypriots Photis Photiou said on Monday that efforts for a Cyprus settlement are at a crucial junction and the outcome will emerge very soon.
Speaking at the funeral service of Panayiotis Hadjipanayiotou, a Greek Cypriot who until recently was included in the list of missing persons following the 1974 Turkish invasion, Photiou said that “we again expect Turkey to make the necessary steps, in order for these efforts to bear fruit”. Thus, he went on, we will finally be able to enter another era together, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots alike, with more hope, especially for the youth.
The service was held at St. Nicholas Church, in the village of Polystipos, in Nicosia District. Hadjipanayiotou`s remains were identified with the DNA method.
The Commissioner further expressed hope that an era of freedom and liberty will prevail, without barbed wires, occupation troops or the “anachronistic and unacceptable” guarantees of the past.
Photiou also said that “our goal aims at reunifying our country, terminating the occupation, safeguarding human rights and basic liberties for all Cypriots, without constraints and exclusions, without winners or losers”. We want to turn our country into a land of peace and freedom, security and prosperity, without the hatred and the conflict of the past, he added.
The remains of Hadjipanayiotou were located last year, at a mass grave of 16 people, in the area of Trachonas, in the Turkish-occupied part of Nicosia. According to Photiou, a second mass grave with 20 people was discovered nearby and these remains await identification.
The Presidential Commissioner noted that there are several cases of mass executions of soldiers and civilians, for which the Turkish side has not demonstrated thorough cooperation in determining their fate. He warned that many cases of missing persons will remain unresolved forever, in case the Turkish side continues with the same approach.
Turkey’s obligations are huge, Photiou added and said that Ankara ought to cooperate in an honest way, in order to investigate the whereabouts of all cases of Greek Cypriot missing persons, to the very last one.
A 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.
President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci have been engaged in UN-backed talks since May 2015 with a view to reunite the island under a federal roof.
Anastasiades and Akinci decided on December 1 to meet in Geneva on January 9, 10 and 11, 2017. On the 12th of January the Conference of Cyprus will begin in Geneva.