The Republic of Cyprus has called on Turkey to investigate effectively all crimes against Greek Cypriots during the 1974 Turkish invasion, Presidential Commissioner Photis Photiou said on Tuesday.
The call came in statements after a meeting Photiou had at his office which examined the revelations made last year by TMT veteran, Turkish Cypriot Turgut Yenagrali and published again last week in a report by Turkish Cypriot daily “Afrika”. Yenagrali said that he had executed Greek Cypriots who were arrested during the Turkish invasion. These persons have been missing since then. Yenagrali`s remarks were condemned by political parties on the island.
The meeting was attended by representatives of the Law Office of the Republic, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Police, the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP) and other departments who exchanged views on the atrocities Yenagrali confessed to in his interview.
Photiou said such confessions should be examined, to see how they can help track Greek Cypriots listed as missing.
“We demand an effective investigation of these crimes and we want to have all the available information from Turkey,” he said, adding that once this kind of investigation is concluded, then Cyprus can conduct its own investigation.
He said the crimes committed against innocent people, women, children the elderly and the missing were barbaric and horrible.
Photiou acknowledged that Turkey is not willing to act, and admitted that if Yenagrali is telling the truth, then “we are talking about war crimes.”
“We will continue to call on Turkey to act and we will urge international organisations to put pressure on Turkey,” on this matter, he said.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third. Hundreds of Greek Cypriots went missing during the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus, most of them combatants but also women, children and elderly people. During the same period and in the early 1960 when intercommunal fighting broke out Turkish Cypriots went missing too.
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.