Cyprus Mail

Upgrading work in Varosha ‘impacting search for missing’


Presidential commissioner Photis Photiou warned on Tuesday that Turkish moves in Varosha could impact the committee on missing persons’ (CMP) search for missing Greek Cypriots killed and buried in the area in 1974.

The Turkish side recently opened part of Varosha, a town that was closed off and under military control for 46 years, and has been carrying out gentrification work as part of its policy to reopen the area for settlement.

Speaking in parliament, Photiou said certain areas were at risk of destruction by the ongoing work and development.

“You understand that for 46 years now they didn’t allow the CMP to carry out excavations because they said it was a military zone,” Photiou said. “At the moment, we have a new development and our side and our representative at the CMP has raised these issues; the wider Famagusta area is an area where permission was granted to dig, but you realise with these developments they are delayed.”

Photiou said there is reliable information that dozens of missing Greek Cypriots disappeared in the area and there are mass graves in Varosha, in the cemetery, but also specific locations in Famagusta.

Apart from Famagusta, the CMP was also looking for missing Greek Cypriots from Assia whose remains had been moved from the mass graves they were buried in after execution and several other areas where remains were deliberately transferred, Photiou said.

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