A small number of remains have been found during excavations carried out by forensic experts working for the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus (CMP), in Turkish occupied Angastina village.
The Cyprus News Agency visited the site on Friday where archaeologists, using both machinery and manual labour, have been working since 24th November 2016 to locate four Greek Cypriots missing since the 1974 Turkish invasion.
This is the first of four phases in the work of the CMP to return remains of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots individuals to their families. This year marks the tenth anniversary since the CMP began returning the first remains of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot individuals to their families. These individuals have been missing since the tragic events of 1963-64 and 1974.
Greek Cypriot head of the team on the site, Yiannis Ioannou, a geologist, working with CMP since 2006, said there are two teams of archaeologists with two backoes “and are looking for the remains of missing persons of 1974”.
“This is the second phase of excavation underway, the first phase took place in 2013 and we found the remains of three individuals and now because the new information was about seven missing in this area, the CMP decided to extend the excavation site and the area under investigation is now pretty big, to see if there are more remains”, he said.
Ioannou said they found a few remains, although not many pieces of bones “that can tell us that we have the number we are looking for”.
Turkish Cypriot head of team Mustafa Emre, an archaeologist, working with the CMP since 2011, told CNA that they are “carrying out an archaeological search in this field, which is huge and the soil is not deep”.
“Every year the field is being cultivated and that is a big problem for us because the bones move and are scattered in the field”. He said excavation is 30 cm with a maximum of 50 cm. “We are checking with the hoe. We are looking with the eyes. The process is very slow because we are using hoes and we have to be careful. We are not looking for complete bodies. The bones have been separated. We are working very slowly and very carefully”, he remarked.
The CMP is a bi-communal body established in 1981 by the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities with the participation of the United Nations. Following the establishment of an agreed list of missing persons, the CMP’s objective is to recover, identify, and return to their families, the remains of 2001 persons (502 Turkish Cypriots and 1,493 Greek Cypriots) who went missing during the inter-communal fighting of 1963 to 1964 and the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974.
According to CMP figures, the remains of 1192 people were exhumed by the end of 2016. Seven hundred forty missing persons were identified by December 31st, 2016.