House Speaker Annita Demetriou on Thursday emphasised the urgency of addressing the fate of missing persons in Cyprus and called for pressure to be exerted on Turkey to allow access to military records and provide valid information.
She made the comments during a meeting with Maria Kalbourtzi, head of the Panhellenic Committee of Relatives of Missing Persons.
During the meeting, Demetriou highlighted the active role of the House of Representatives in raising awareness about missing persons in Cyprus on both the European and international levels. As part of parliamentary diplomacy, they discussed joint actions to strengthen cooperation on this matter.
Demetriou also informed Kalbourtzi about the upcoming visit of Isabel Santos, the new Permanent Rapporteur of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs of the European Parliament, who will be focusing on the missing persons of Cyprus.
Expressing gratitude for Demetriou’s continuous support, Kalbourtzi stressed the urgent need to determine the fate of the missing and to garner international attention to address this pressing humanitarian issue.
Additionally, Demetriou mentioned the Greek parliament’s intention to designate October 29 as ‘National Day of Missing Persons of Cyprus’ in recognition of the importance of the cause.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 after Turkey’s invasion and occupation of the northern third of the island. The fate of hundreds of missing persons remains unknown since the invasion.
To address this issue, a Committee on Missing Persons was established by agreement between the leaders of the two communities. The committee’s mission is to locate, identify, and return the remains of 492 Turkish Cypriots and 1,510 Greek Cypriots who went missing during the inter-communal fighting of 1963-1964 and in 1974.
According to statistical data from the CMP website, as of June 30, 2023, 741 Greek Cypriot missing persons have been identified, while 769 are still missing. Among the 492 Turkish Cypriot missing persons, 292 have been identified, and 200 remain missing. This year, only five missing persons have been identified, according to the same data.