|In the summer of 1974, Turkish troops invaded and occupied
more than a third of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus.
Over the years those who lost their loved ones, their homes and
their livelihoods have begun the painful process of rebuilding
their shattered lives. But for the fathers, the mothers,
the brothers, the sisters and the children of
the passage of time has deepened, rather than healed the
wounds inflicted by the Turkish invasion.
The list of missing persons contains 1619 names for whom the relatives seek convincing information which will allow the full determination of their fate. This number includes not only conscripts and reservists but also a large number of civilians and among them women and children, who disappeared consequent to the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974. Most of these missing Greek Cypriots were arrested by the Turkish army and/or by Turkish Cypriots under the control and command of Turkey's armed forces. The rest were cut off In the Turkish occupied area. Subsequent to their arrest a number of them were transported to Turkey and were kept as prisoners In Turkish jails. Since 1 974, despite our appeals to the Turkish government and to other International Organizations, and contrary to International Law and Human Rights Conventions, Turkey refuses to provide the relatives with any information about the fate of their loved ones. Instead, the Turkish government is insisting that it knows nothing about the fate of the missing Cypriots, and furthermore, that no Greek Cypriot missing persons were held.
Turkey's claims, however, are not supported by any facts. Following discussions in the presence of UN and ICRC Representatives and on the few occasions when the Turkish side was compelled to accept unannounced visits to places where, according to information, Greek Cypriots were to be found, several Greek Cypriot missing persons were found imprisoned In the Turkish occupied areas.
There Is hard and Indisputable evidence establishing, beyond any reasonable doubt, that the disappeared persons were alive and well at the time of their arrest by the Turkish army. This evidence is founded on:
b. Testimonies by ex-prisoners that persons were seen in captivity in mainland Turkish prisons and other detention centres in the occupied part of Cyprus.
c. Photographic evidence from the Turkish and international press showing clearly identifiable missing persons In the custody of Turkish troops both In Cyprus and in mainland Turkish jails. These persons are recognised by relatives of missing persons as their loved ones.
d. Messages from missing persons which were broadcasted byTurkish radio after their arrest.
e. Red Cross lists compiled during visits in Turkish detention centers. These Ilsts include names of prisoners who were not reIeased.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations in his report to the Security Council at the end of 1995 underlined: "on several occasions I have conveyed to the Council my concern about the absence of progress on the work of the Committee on Missing Persons. . ." (report of the Secretary General on the United Nations operation in Cyprus S/ 1995/1020 dated 10/12/1995).
Recently Amnesty International has also studied the situation and concluded that: «...Amnesty International is calling upon the UN to established a new body - an international commission of inquiry - which satisfies the strict international standards for such investigations, with adequate resources and pawers, to conduct a thorough and impartial inquiry. . .» (Amnesty International Report on Cyprus EUR 17/1 0/96 dated August 1996).
In view of the above the relatives of the missing persons are very worried and appeal to all concerned to exert all their influence so that this unacceptable situation changes. In this respect we especially expect and hope that the UN Secretary- General will undertake the needed initiative, within the framework of the universally accepted principles of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law and the findings of Amnesty International, so that progress will at last be achieved soon, and the needed convincing information will be presented, to allow the full determination of the fate of all missing persons in Cyprus. To this end the cooperation of all concerned is needed, particularly from the Turkish side, which must, at last, decide to reveal the information on what happened to our loved ones after their disappearance.
It would indeed be very disappointing if Turkey does not abandon its strategy of avoiding the presentation of the necessary elements concerning the fate of the missing persons. The Turkish Government, in its refusal to recognize its obligation to account for the fate of Greek Cypriots held in its custody, is guilty of one of the most heinous crimes against humanity - the crime of enforced disappearance; a crime which has been deplored Internationally, and is not subject to time limitation. The Verde Report, which was submitted on September 1984 to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, states:
The one and only demand of the relatives is a profoundly human one. It is a demand for the full restoration and respect of the basic and fundamental human rights of the missing persons and their relatives.
THEY HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW!