Organisation Identifies 1,400 Missing People Killed During The 1974 Turkish Invasion Of Cyprus

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Organisation Identifies 1,400 Missing People Killed During The 1974 Turkish Invasion Of Cyprus

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

An organisation, The Committee on Missing People in Cyprus (CMP) has detailed their work looking for victims of the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus in an extensive interview with Greek Reporter.


In 1974 Turkey invaded the island of Cyprus, which at the time was part of the Greek state. The invasion led to thousands of deaths, hundreds-of-thousands being displaced, and thousands of people going missing. The remains of many of those killed have never been found or have never been properly identified.


Cyprus remains split between an independent Cyprus in the south, comprised mostly of Greek speakers, and a separate 'state' in the north, which is occupied by Turkey but is not recognised by anyone in the international community.


The CMP hopes that through their work they can heal some of the wounds left by the conflict.


At present, there are officially 2,002 missing people of whom 1,510 are Greek Cypriots. Since 2004 1,200 missing people have been found and positively identified by the CMP.


Extensive work is involved in the process of sourcing and identifying victims. At first, the CMP must follow historical and first-hand accounts of the invasion, and where alleged crimes are said to have taken place. They must then painstakingly discover where bodies and remains are buried. They must then carry out DNA analysis on the bodies and extract them carefully. The DNA must then be matched with living relatives that may live in Greece or have immigrated across the world many years previously.


Leonidas Pantelides of the CMP spoke to Greek Reporter, saying:


"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."


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


"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."


Sadly, much of the work of the CMP is hindered by the Turkish state who refuse to assist the project. Sergides adds:


"The issue of missing people is a dark stain on the modern history of Cyprus. It could have been solved in a few weeks, which would have contributed to the rehabilitation of mutual trust between the two communities. Unfortunately, the Turkish Cypriot side preferred not to cooperate, clearly to cover up the evident crimes that the Turkish army and Turkish Cypriots committed, which are being proven scientifically today."


[h/t: Greek Reporter]


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Thinking Humanity: Organisation Identifies 1,400 Missing People Killed During The 1974 Turkish Invasion Of Cyprus
Organisation Identifies 1,400 Missing People Killed During The 1974 Turkish Invasion Of Cyprus
An organisation, The Committee on Missing People in Cyprus (CMP) has detailed their work looking for victims of the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus in
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