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Missing persons’ issue should be an inviolable condition for Turkey’s EU course
2005-03-10 12:18:01

Nicosia, Mar 10 (CNA) -- The Pancyprian Committee for the Missing Persons has stressed that the missing persons issue should be an inviolable condition for Turkey starting accession negotiations with the European Union.

Chairman of the Committee, Nicos Theodosiou, told reporters during a press conference today to announce the events of the 21st Marathon of Love for the Missing that will take place from 10-31 March, that “Turkey is solely responsible for the issue” because it does not release evidence that would help ascertain the fate of the missing persons.

Referring to the meetings of the Committee of Missing Persons (CMP), Theodosiou talked about a “fiasco” on the part of Turkish Cypriot Republican Turkish Party leader Mehmet Ali Talat and representative of the Turkish Cypriot side at the CMP, Rustem Tatar.

Theodosiou remarked that every time that the date for the convening of the Council of Europe's Permanent Representatives approaches, they provide reports about sites where missing persons are buried with an aim to create the impression of progress.

“What disappoints us within the framework of the CMP is that it has convened more than 300 times and has not been able to solve a single case concerning the missing”, Theodosiou said.

The European Court of Human Rights found Turkey guilty of violating the human rights of the relatives of Greek Cypriot missing persons and called on Ankara to carry out effective and substantive investigation on their fate.

The Cypriot government has submitted to the tripartite CMP, comprising one representative from each side and a UN envoy, for investigation 1493 cases of Cypriot and Greek nationals listed as missing, a number that includes women, children, elderly persons and members of the National Guard.

Of the 1493 cases, the remains of 14 missing persons have been identified through the DNA process when the government of the Republic embarked unilaterally on a process of exhumation and identification of remains. Therefore the CMP now has before it 1479 cases to investigate.

There are also another 107 cases of Greek Cypriot and Greek missing persons whose files have not been submitted to the CMP and whose families have been informed as to the reasons why the specific files were not presented to the CMP. The Cypriot authorities continue to investigate these cases.

In addition to that, there are 50 cases of Greek Cypriots missing since the 1963-64 period, when inter-communal fighting occurred.

The CMP has the files of 500 Turkish Cypriot missing persons from 1963-64 and 1974.

The Greek Cypriot side has handed to the CMP information on more than 350 cases of Turkish Cypriots listed as missing, which gives full account as to the fate of these persons.

The Marathon of Love which begins today aims at informing European embassies on the missing persons issue and to ask for their assistance to solve the issue.

It will also carry enlighten young people at schools on the missing persons’ issue and to raise funds for the relatives of the missing persons.

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