Turkish Cypriot member of the Committee on Missing Persons Gulden Plumer Kucuk, has said that 636 out of the 2001 registered missing persons have been identified and delivered to their families since 2006, Turkish Cypriot daily ‘Havadis’ reports.
In an interview with the newspaper, Kucuk noted that it has been established that most of the missing persons were buried in wells.
According to Kucuk, 26% of the Turkish Cypriot missing persons and 31% of the Greek Cypriot missing persons have now been identified.
It would not be possible to find all those missing, she said, because some of the eye witnesses have died, there have been changes to the region and certain environmental factors are involved.
She said that in 2013 and 2014 the number of Turkish Cypriots identified had reached 160, which is something of a record. She expressed the view that they will need another six years, considering that the identification of 160 persons took one year and that 1,000 persons still need to be identified.
Replying to a question, she noted that the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus has become a model for the region and added that currently Cypriot scientists are educating colleagues from Iraq in their laboratory. She added: “This is a 3-4 year programme. Our scientists are writing articles for international platforms. Two to three of our articles have been published. They have developed some methodologies. For example, because the most burial places in wells are located in Cyprus, they have become specialists on this issue. We have published articles on this issue.”
Asked about the procedure of the excavations in military zones, Kucuk said that they cooperate with the military authorities and that since 2006 permission for excavations in 24 military areas has been granted. “We are currently continuing excavations in one military zone. We have always received positive answers to our applications on the issue of getting permissions”, she added.
Replying to another question as regards the number of the areas in which they suspect that missing persons have been buried, she said that there are 150-200 such places in North Cyprus. She made no reference to the numbers in the south of the island.