On 29th October 1974 the last prisoners of the Turkish invasion were set free. It was the day that signaled the beginning of the torment for hundreds of families of the missing persons.
In 2010 the House of Representatives, after a proposal tabled, albeit belatedly, by the Pancyprian Organization of Relatives of Undeclared Prisoners and Missing Persons, established 29th October as the Day of Missing Persons.
In our view, the torment of the relatives of the missing persons is not confined to a day. For AKEL, the issue of the missing persons guides our actions and practice on a daily basis.
AKEL will continue to struggle for the verification of the fate of all missing persons in Cyprus, both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. We clarify that our efforts do not end with the delivery to the relatives of the missing persons of the remains of their beloved ones. For us it is essential that the relatives are informed about the circumstances under which they lost their beloved ones. This represents a right of the relatives and a debt to the missing persons themselves. It also constitutes a parallel obligation to our country’s history.
At this specific juncture, it must be safeguarded that the Committee of Missing Persons (CMP) will not only continue its work, but will expand further its activities. It is particularly important that the CMP is staffed further so that it can examine with more immediacy both the information it has at its disposal and the skeletal samples. The period of 1-2 years that elapses from the moment of the discovery of skeletal samples up to the briefing of the relatives of missing persons is long and painful.
In addition, the process of searching for information by both the United Nations and the UN peacekeeping force stationed in Cyprus, but also by all those who may possess information, must be intensified.
We want to reiterate once again that the most important thing of all is that specific pressures need to be exerted on Turkey forcing it on the one hand to give all the information on our missing persons and on the other to terminate the bureaucratic procedures that are demanded for the CMP to get permission to conduct exhumations in military zones in the occupied areas. This is the reason why we believe that the EU, besides the financial support it provides to the program, must be involved in other ways as well. We consider the need to appoint a rapporteur on the issue of the missing persons a pressing need. By doing so, Turkey’s stand in general on the chapter of the missing persons can be monitored.
Of course, the only true vindication for the missing persons, the fallen, the war-stricken people and the 1974 refugees will be the solution of the Cyprus problem. True vindication will come with the termination of the crime committed in 1974, through the reversal of the occupation and division of our island and people. With the liberation, reunification and demilitarization of our Cyprus.