Turkey must reveal the truth about victims and their remains

During a debate this morning on the case of the mass graves of the missing people of Ashia in the Ornithi village in the occupied part of Cyprus, GUE/NGL MEPs expressed  the urgent need to verify the fate of the of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot missing persons.

The also added their condemnation of the Turkish government for failing to tell the truth about the whereabouts of the remains of scores of Greek (and Turkish) Cypriots who disappeared and were murdered during the Turkish invasion and bombardments of 1974. The relocation of remains of mass graves of missing persons was strongly denounced.

Cyrpriot MEP Takis Hadjigeorgiou said: “The work carried out in Cyprus by Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots for the discovery, exhumation and identification of the remains of the victims of the Cyprus tragedy is an act that honours not only the Cypriots but is an act honouring humanity.”

“In contrast”, he concluded, “the relocation and disappearance of remains from mass graves is an act of shame, equal to that of the victims' murder.”

Irish MEP Martina Anderson evoked the many similarities between the island nations of Ireland and Cyprus that have suffered from the legacy of partition foreign occupation and conflict.

MEP Anderson said: “The need for truth and reconciliation is as important for Cyprus as it is for Ireland. But for this reconciliation to take place in Cyprus, Turkey must reveal the truth about the missing people and also regarding the further crime of the relocation of victims' remains by the Turkish authorities.”

Greek MEP Kostas Chrysogonos said that the invasion of Cyprus in 1974 and the occupation of 40% of the island “were major violations of international law for which Turkey has been sentenced by the European Court of Human rights on many occasions.”

He added: “This huge violation has been accompanied by terrible war crimes such as the mass execution of about 1,600 Greek Cypriots and Greek prisoners. These crimes have not been acknowledged or punished but Turkey has tried to cover them up and recently even moved remains from Ashia to another region. This is shameful.”