A Greek Cypriot and a Turkish Cypriot are helping the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP) locate persons that went missing in Cyprus.
Kyriakos Andreou, from Lysi, was 16 years old in 1974 when he was arrested and imprisoned. He was saved to come decades later to relieve from the pain and waiting for the relatives of Turkish Cypriots, but also of Greek Cypriot missing persons.
He spoke to the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) about the feelings of relief in the eyes of a missing person’s relatives when their beloved one is located.
He noted the moral satisfaction he feels when the relatives receive the remains of their loved ones after so many years, faces with expressions of sadness but also of joy and relief.
“You help them free themselves, feel relief, cry,” he said and urged people who know to come forward and give information to the Committee on Missing Persons so that more missing persons are located.
“Right now I am here in the hope that whatever you write will get people to start talking. There are many people who know, and should talk”.
If I can convince, he added, “even one more person today to speak out, I will be very happy”.
Turkish Cypriot Mustafa Gürsel who is originally from the coastal town of Paphos, was 14 years old in 1974. He first came across human bones on the Pentadaktylos mountain, near Agios Hilarion, where he was serving as an officer in 1983-85.
When he started reading Turkish Cypriot journalists’ Sevgül Uludağ’s articles and felt the pain of the relatives of the missing persons, he decided to speak out.
He indicated three burial sites himself and many that others indicated to him. And he continues.
“It is up to us, Cypriots, to give an end to this pain. We Cypriots must find the solution. We cannot let this humanitarian issue like this. Speak up, don’t delay” he said.
He pointed out that the CMP “is not looking for criminals, it is looking for what is left of those who are missing. We have found half of them. It’s a shame”, he told CNA.
Kyriakos and Mustafa met for the first time and got to know each other in the context of the interviews they gave with the Cyprus News Agency on the humanitarian issue of the missing persons.
It is noted that none of them have a missing person in their families.
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 to their relatives the remains of 492 Turkish Cypriots and 1,510 Greek Cypriots, who went missing during the inter-communal fighting of 1963-1964 and in 1974.
According to statistical data published on the CMP website by June 30, 2023, of 1510 Greek Cypriot missing persons 741 were identified and 769 are still missing. Out of 492 Turkish Cypriot missing persons 292 were identified and 200 are still missing.
( Source-CNA /By Rally Papageorgiou )