This Organisation Is Working On Finding And Identifying The Remains Of 2,000 Missing Victims Following Turkey's Invasion Of Cyprus In 1974

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This Organisation Is Working On Finding And Identifying The Remains Of 2,000 Missing Victims Following Turkey's Invasion Of Cyprus In 1974

Photo: Greek Cypriot widows and mothers search for their missing husbands and sons after the Turkish Invasion of Cyprus in 1974. Credit: Public domain


In 1974, the Turkish state invaded the island of Cyprus, then part of Greece. The invasion resulted in thousands of deaths and has meant the island has been split into a Turkish occupied north and a Greek Cypriot south ever since. Northern Turkish Cyprus is not regarded as legitimate nor recognised by the international community. The United Nations still retains an armed military presence between the two halves of the island.


As a result of the war, 200,000 Greek Cypriots living in the north of the island fled to the south. Their homes and properties were soon taken over by Turks from mainland Turkey who were resettled there. Ethnic cleansing also took place during the Turkish invasion, and to this day, 2,000 individuals remain missing and unaccounted for. 1,510 of these are Greek Cypriots and 492 are Turkish Cypriots.


The Committee on Missing People in Cyprus, or CMP, a bi-communal organisation now seeks to find the missing individuals and bring closure to their families. Since 2004, the organisation has assisted in locating over 1,200 bodies and remains and allowing them to receive proper burials.


The CMP insists its goal is not to assign blame on either side, but to work together to assist the families affected.


The CMP uses both domestic and international experts in their work, including historians of the conflict, archaeologists, and DNA experts who match remains found with living relatives who have added themselves onto a database.


Leonidas Pantelides, the Greek Cypriot representative, told Greek Reporter, of his organisation's work:


"If their loved one remains missing, they don't know what happened…Did they suffer? Were they imprisoned? When they don't know, it's just a vagueness. Once we have recovered the remains, we can tell them the full story and give them closure."


While Nikos Sergides, the President of the Organization of Relatives of Undeclared Prisoners and Missing Persons of Cyprus, added:


"Just after receiving the remains, it is a normal for there to be anger and sadness, but then the souls of the relatives of the missing are at peace, because at least they know what happened to their loved ones and they have a place to light a candle for them."


While hostility and tension over the island remains high, it is hoped that the work of such organisations will help heal wounds and bring solace to the living.


[h/t: Greek Reporter]


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Thinking Humanity: This Organisation Is Working On Finding And Identifying The Remains Of 2,000 Missing Victims Following Turkey's Invasion Of Cyprus In 1974
This Organisation Is Working On Finding And Identifying The Remains Of 2,000 Missing Victims Following Turkey's Invasion Of Cyprus In 1974
In 1974 the Turkish state invaded the island of Cyprus, then part of Greece. The invasion resulted in thousands of deaths and has meant the island has
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