The Turkish Cypriot official on the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP) on Wednesday lashed out at comments made by Presidential Commissioner Photis Photiou over Turkey’s lack of information giving on mass graves in the north.

According to reports in the north, Hakki Mufutzade said that since the start of operation of the CMP in 1997 Turkey has given “all kinds of support” to the organisation.

Last week, Photiou said: “Unfortunately, 2022 was not a good year for locating the remains of our missing persons. 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.

“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, a total of 63 excavations were carried out by the CMP, as opposed to 79 in 2021 and 65 in 2020. The remains of 19 individuals were identified in 2022, in addition to 17 in 2021 and 10 in 2020.

However, Muftuzade said that work in the military zone is proceeding, and that they have accelerated their work.

As a committee, he added, that their demands in the military zones in the north under Turkey’s control are met quickly and they do not have any trouble.

“In addition to the ongoing excavations in the military zone, excavation preparation activities have taken place in the Varosha and Derynia areas,” he said.

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.