Presidential Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs Photis Photiou said Saturday that although the efforts to find missing persons remains in various parts of Cyprus continue, the situation is “difficult and tragic”.
Speaking at the funeral of Kostas Hadjikonstantis who was lost during the tragic events of 1964 in Cyprus and its remains were found recently and identified through DNA analysis, Photiou stressed that there are many problems in finding remains of missing persons relating to the period 1963-64 or the Turkish invasion in 1974, because of the long time that has passed and the refusal of Turkey to co-operate.
“About nine hundred of our compatriots are still on the list of the missing persons, and parents, husbands and wives, even their children, are passing away with open wounds, with the pain and distress of so many years, and unanswered questions about the disappearance of their loved ones”, he said.
At the same time, he assured that despite the difficulties, the problems and the denial of the occupying power to cooperate, the work will continue diligently to clarify the fate of every missing person.
He once again urged Turkey to respond to this effort and finally to cooperate by allowing researchers to access the Turkish army archives.
Kostas Hadjikonstantis, father of five children, was killed on March 11, 1964, a victim of kidnapping by Turkish Cypriot extremists, as he was unsuspectingly going to his work.
His remains have been found in a massive grave in North Nicosia together with the remains of other abducted Greek Cypriots, in an area of the Turkish Cypriot village of Hamid Mandres and has been identified through DNA analysis.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third. Since then, the fate of hundreds of people remains unknown.
A Committee on Missing Persons (CMP) has been established, upon agreement between the leaders of the two communities, with the scope of exhuming, identifying and returning the remains of missing persons to their relatives.