Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci said on Monday that there was no need to blame the entire Greek Cypriot community for the atrocities committed against the Turkish Cypriots in the past, but that those who committed the atrocities should definitely bear the brunt.
Akinci addressed a commemoration ceremony in the north for 126 Turkish Cypriots from Aloa, Santalari and Maratha villages in the Famagusta district, who were killed by Eoka B paramilitary organisation in August 1974 following Turkey’s invasion on the island.
The Turkish Cypriot leader said that 45 of the 89 people killed in Maratha and Santalari villages were children under the age of 16. Last year the remains of 86 Turkish Cypriots buried in a mass grave in Santalari were exhumed. On Monday, the remains of four women were laid to rest after they were identified by the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP).
Works to exhume and identify the 37 Turkish Cypriots killed in Aloa are to begin by the end of the year, Akinci said. He stressed the importance of not forgetting what happened in the past. “For us the guarantee of not experiencing the same, goes along with not forgetting. If we forget, we let our guard down,” Akinci said.
It is obvious, he said, that the Greek Cypriots did not take any lessons from the past “considering the commemoration and blessing of the Enosis referendum (union with Greece) of 1955”. Tensions between the two communities rose after parliament passed a bill last March, tabled by far-right party Elam, providing for the commemoration in schools of the anniversary of the 1950 referendum calling for the union of the island with Greece (Enosis).
Akinci said it was important to raise new generations in light of past events and added that the Turkish Cypriots were not raising new generations who saw Greek Cypriots as enemies.
He added that the Greek Cypriots should not give a free pass to parties like Elam, but that “the biggest party”, ruling Disy, followed a small party (Elam) and helped pass the “Enosis plebiscite” from the House of Representatives.
He said that it was important for the two sides to live peacefully “as two equal entities” on the island. The Turkish Cypriots can’t and won’t chase Greek Cypriots out of the island, he said. “Neither do they (Greek Cypriots) have the power to do this [to us]. It was attempted in the past but it was clear it could not be done,” he said.