Cypriot president calls on turkey to cooperate on missing persons

29 October 2015
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The issue of missing persons cannot be resolved without the effective cooperation of Turkey, President Anastasiades has said.

In a speech delivered on Thursday by Commissioner Photis Photiou at a Church memorial service for the missing persons of the 1974 Turkish invasion of the island, the President once again called on Ankara to implement its commitments.

Moreover, Anastasiades assured that a solution to the humanitarian problem of the missing persons and to the tragedy experienced by their families for many decades, is a top priority for the Government.

The President also referred to the work carried out by the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP), pointing out that, “The support of the Cypriot Government to CMP by no means implies our satisfaction for the results so far.”

He said that in order for CMP to proceed with the exhumation program, CMP should address specific problems, mainly originating from the lack of sufficient cooperation from the Turkish side.

He assured that the Greek-Cypriot side will continue to promote the issue in every way, in order for Ankara to be convinced to contribute to the work by CMP and to provide the necessary support to accelerate the results.

President Anastasiades also said “That our side is calling an all countries, especially the EU member states, to intensify their efforts towards Turkey.”

In his speech, the President also referred to the important problem of the movement of human remains from many primary burial sites in the occupied areas, noting that these actions were carried out deliberately and in an organized manner and have caused enormous operational and economic problems in the CMP program and huge psychological pain to the relatives of the missing persons.

Furthermore, Anastasiades said that the families are entitled and should have full information on all aspects of the fate of their loved ones.

He also referred to the exhumation and identification program carried out in the Republic of Cyprus in order to locate and identify the remains of Greek Cypriots and Greeks who were buried in the Republic.

This project, he added, includes the exhumation of remains of Greek airmen aboard a military aircraft which was shot down by friendly fire in the summer of 1974.

The Noratlas Greek military aircraft was shot down by friendly fire on July 22, 1974 and, until recently, was buried under a mound at the memorial site called Tymbos Makedonitissas in Nicosia.

The President also said that the Greek Cypriot side remains determined to work for a just and viable solution that will reunite the island and bring peace and prosperity for all and for the future generations. He also pointed out that he has put the issue of missing persons on the table of negotiations with the Turkish Cypriot leader. He also recalled that the issue has already been included in a joint statement of the two leaders last May, who agreed on the promotion of confidence-building measures.

Archbishop: Our duty is to call on Ankara to terminate its unacceptable stance

In statements to the press following the memorial service, Archbishop Chrysostomos said that, “It was our duty and obligation to pray for the missing persons calling on Ankara to terminate its unacceptable stance on the issue.”

Moreover, Archbishop assured that the Church will continue to fight in order for all the families of missing persons to finally have all the information on the fate of their loved ones.

The Archbishop also said that, “Both the UN and the whole of the international community should exert pressure on Turkey to finally give the answers we are seeking for the past 41 years.”

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