Cyprus: At least 12 Greek Cypriots missing in Varosia – Mass grave search

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In the shadow of developments around the opening of Varosion The danger of passing the most important humanitarian drama of the Cypriot tragedy to the background is silenced by Turkey. There are at least 12 Greek Cypriot missing persons, while the case of mass graves is also being examined.

According to the data available to the Commission of Inquiry on Missing Persons (CMP), in the area sealed by the Turkish army, the disappearances of at least twelve Greek Cypriot missing persons of 1974 are placed. These are citizens, mainly elderly men and women, luck which has been ignored since August 15, 1974, when the Turkish army entered Famagusta.

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The last signs of life of these people are recorded in the area of ​​the enclosed city of Varos and therefore, the CMP search for the location of their bones is directed to the area that was kept sealed by the Turkish army from August 1974 until 2020 as reported. Deutsche Welle. The details of the CMP, which has been operating since the 1980s as a bi-communal technical committee with three representatives, one from each community and the third member on behalf of the United Nations, come from both testimonies of surviving Greek Cypriots and records from the Swedish detachment of UNFICYP, which in 1974 had the area of ​​Famagusta as its area of ​​responsibility.

The case of the Cross

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The cases of the twelve Greek Cypriot missing persons of Varos are not the only cases that concern the CMP regarding the city. According to testimonies, a large number of Greek Cypriot soldiers are also said to have been buried in the same area, as before the date of the occupation of Famagusta by the Turkish army in the Greek Cypriot cemetery of Stavros (also inside the fenced city) burials of fallen Greek soldiers had taken place. Although these are two mass burials of identified fallen soldiers, given the circumstances, the CMP does not rule out the possibility that people who had not been previously identified were buried there. This possibility is reinforced by the testimonies of persons who were present at the burials, which refer to tombs marked “unknown”.

After the occupation of Famagusta, burials in the city of Varosia were carried out in 1974 by men of the United Nations peacekeeping force UNFICYP. Specifically, the records of the Swedish detachment report burials of three unidentified persons inside the cemetery of Stavros. This seems to have been the practice of the Swedes of the United Nations, reinforcing the case of the burial of Greek Cypriot missing persons in the cemetery of Stavros.

Indicatively, the case of the brothers Hatzipavlou, Kostaki and Michalaki, who were buried in Stavros cemetery by a UNFICYP ladder on August 19, 1974, is mentioned. that “UNFICYP men had found them both, dead outside Tsoukeros’ shop. They were picked up, “he said,” put in bags, taken to the old cemetery of Stavros and buried, right after entering. In fact, I realized that they were buried roughly, because the legs of Kostakis, who was taller than my husband, protruded from the grave “.

Opposite “Anorthosis”

Last week the journalist Sevgül Uludağ revealed in an article in the newspaper Yeni Duzen (dated 17/10/2021), a new case of burial of missing persons in the enclosed city of Famagusta. Two Greek Cypriot soldiers are said to have been buried in a yard opposite the Anorthosis union. According to testimonies obtained by Sevgül Uludağ, on August 16, 1974, a group of Turkish soldiers heading to Deryneia were involved in a street fight with two Greek Cypriot soldiers on Evagorou Street in front of the Anorthosis club. The two soldiers were killed – one during the battle and the other after his capture – and were then buried in the courtyard opposite the house by order of the head of the Turkish soldiers. Although Dimokratias Avenue, which was given to the public for use by the Turkish army, is located just a few meters from the Anorthosis building and Evagorou Street, at the site of the alleged burial of the two Greek Cypriot soldiers, access is still not allowed.

The announcements for the opening of the enclosed city of Varosia by the Turkish government were accompanied by projects. in order to ensure the safe passage of visitors between the dilapidated buildings of the city. The works that have already been carried out include the asphalting of Kennedy and Dimokratias avenues, while the opening of part of the fenced city (approximately 3.5% of the total area of ​​Varosi) is imminent. Excavations for the whereabouts of the missing in Famagusta are not included in the planning of the Turkish side for Famagusta, while the Greek Cypriot side does not raise the issue at the political level either. In his statements to DW, the Greek Cypriot Representative in the CMP Mr. Leonidas Pantelidis stated that the CMP is following with interest the developments in Varosi. “Our effort is,” said Mr. Pantelidis, “to be allowed to go to the area with witnesses, while they are still alive. “Excavations will be made as soon as possible and when this is possible”, concluded the Greek representative.

Source Deutsche Welle

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