AKEL on the Day of Remembrance and Honour of the 1974 Prisoners of War
23 April 2023, AKEL C.C. Press Office, Nicosia
Today, 23rd April, designated as Day of Remembrance and Honor of the 1974 Prisoners of War, is a milestone in the daily memory of the tragedy our people experienced in the summer of 1974.
Captivity was followed by torture, humiliation and degradation at the hands of the Turkish army, with the most tragic experience suffered being those who were subsequently transferred to prisons in Turkey.
The prisoners of war fears and anxiety for their lives was at the same time coexisted with their anger and rage at the betrayal that was committed. Many of those fighting the invading Turkish army were abandoned and left helpless, without orders and ammunition, without any reinforcements and with some of the Greek junta battalion commanders disappearing from the battle fronts, abandoning the soldiers at the mercy of the invading Turkish army’s fury. Those who escaped the on-the-spot executions ended up as prisoners of war. The experiences of being prisoners of war are wounds that never heal.
Today, 49 years later, the reexamination of the honoree allowances allocated to the 1974 prisoners of war and, more broadly, to the victims of the coup d’état and the Turkish invasion is a pressing need. The sacrifice and suffering they experienced at the hands of the Turkish army cannot be counted against the amount of their pension, creating discrimination between fellow combatants who lived through the same nightmares.
At the same time, there is a need for understanding and to overcome bureaucratic procedures that place the burden on the prisoners themselves to prove whether the physical injuries they had suffered during their captivity are responsible for the health problems they face today.
Both of the above issues were raised by AKEL MP’s at a recent meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on Refugees-Enclaved people in the occupied areas-Missing persons-War stricken Persons, and we expect a response from the Ministry of Labour soon.
Finally, this Day underlines that the only way to vindicate the prisoners of war, the war-stricken people of 1974, the missing persons and displaced refugees and the only hope for the future of our people will be
the liberation and reunification of our country through the solution of the Cyprus problem.