Presidential Commissioner Photis Photiou stressed on Saturday that the most tragic aspect of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus 44 years ago is the issue of missing persons, and that Turkey must assume its immense responsibilities until the fate of each missing person is established.
Speaking during the funeral in Limassol district of soldier Vryoni Moniati who went missing in 1974 and whose remains have been identified through DNA testing, Photiou said that almost half a century after the invasion most of those who went missing have not been found and Turkey continues to hinder the progress of the Committee of Missing Person’s work.
He also noted that many of the missing persons` relatives die without getting an answer to their anxious questions for the fate of their beloved ones.
He recalled “850 of our compatriots are still missing”, adding that “we will never stop our efforts to establish the fate of each and every missing person and we will never forget and get used to the occupation of our homeland, the usurpation of our ancestral homes and the violation of our rights.”
He stressed the need for unity among the political powers, and reiterated that “we pursue a settlement that will abide by the EU principles and values and the acquis communautaire, a settlement that will reunite our country and will terminate occupation, without guarantor and intervention rights from any country, a settlement that will safeguard human rights and the basic freedoms of all citizens and will lead the country into a new era of hope and prospect.”
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third. Since then, the fate of hundreds of people remains unknown.
A Committee on Missing Persons has been established, upon agreement between the leaders of the two communities, with the scope of exhuming, identifying and returning the remains of missing persons to their relatives.