Cyprus Mail

Remains of a TC victim of Athalassa bombing handed over to relatives

Photo: CNA

The remains of one of three Turkish Cypriots killed along with dozens of Greek Cypriot at the Athalassa psychiatric hospital in Nicosia when it was bombed by Turkish forces in 1974 were handed over to their relatives on Tuesday for a proper funeral.

Three Turkish Cypriots lost their lives during the bombing of the psychiatric hospital on July 20, 1974 the first day of the Turkish invasion..

The information authorities have is that 32 people died in the bombing, 29 patients, one nurse and a national guardsman.

The remains of two others were handed over to their relatives and buried last week.  The nurse and the soldier were identified early on in the investigation and also buried. Seven identifications have been completed in total.

Excavations in the area to locate the remains of patients began in 2017. Remains found so far is estimated at 17 people, Humanitarian Affairs Commissioner Photos Photiou told media on Tuesday.

“Efforts to identify the remains continue,” he said. “It is difficult but we are on track.”

Photiou said excavations would begin soon at the Constantine and Eleni’s Cemetery in Nicosia, where according to information, five or six of the Athalassa victims were reportedly buried.

The remains of the other two Turkish Cypriots who were in the hospital at the time have not yet been identified through the DNA testing.

The third, whose remains were handed over on Tuesday, Osman Mustafa was 18 years old in 1974. He was from Avdimou, according to a report by CNA.

“Today his relatives came and took delivery of the remains that were transported with the help of Unficyp through the Ledra Palace checkpoint to the occupied areas for burial,” said Photiou.

“We consider it our moral and humanitarian obligation to deliver the remains all those who were killed by Napalm bombs, whether they are Greek Cypriots or Turkish Cypriots, who were killed in the barbarous bombardment of the hospital.”

Identifications are carried out by the Institute of Neurology and Genetics. Excavations are done by a bicommunal team under the auspices of the Committee on Missing Persons.




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