There is information and testimonies that may lead to the recovery of the remains of more missing persons in 2023 after a particularly bad year in 2022, Presidential Commissioner Photis Photiou said on Friday.

Speaking after an Epiphnay event, Photiou said most of the mass graves of missing persons were located around Kyrenia.

“Unfortunately, 2022 was not a good year for locating the remains of our missing persons,” he said. “I would say it was a disappointing year like all recent years.”

He put this down to the lack of cooperation by Turkey in providing information.

“The issue of our missing persons is not a political one, it is a humanitarian issue and for 48 years we are still looking for more than 750 of our missing persons,” he added.

However, Photiou said there was some new information that could lead to better results in 2023. He said he hoped the testimonies and the information collected was correct and that Turkey did not try to create obstacles to new excavations.

Asked whether the help of major powers such as France, Britain and the US would be requested, he said the issue is always high on the agenda in all the meetings with the international community.

“There can’t be two standards. On the one hand to talk about the atrocities and barbarities in Ukraine and on the other you would expect a similar sensitivity with what has happened in Cyprus,” he said.

“Forty-eight years is a long time and time is our biggest enemy so we ask the international community to convince and pressure Turkey to cooperate,” he added.

In 2022, 63 excavations were carried out by the Commitee on Missing Persons (CMP), as opposed to 79 in 2021 and 65 in 2020. The remains of 19 individuals were identified in 2022, 17 in 2021 and 10 in 2020.

A definitive list of just over 2,000 missing persons – 492 Turkish Cypriots and 1,510 Greek Cypriots – was drawn up in 2006.

Since then, the remains of 1,028 have been identified and returned to their families.

There is still no trace of the remains of 200 Turkish Cypriots and 774 Greek Cypriots.