President Mustafa Akinci today announced that the Turkish army has given permission for excavations in search of missing persons in 30 locations in military areas in the TRNC.
The president made the announcement at a meeting with Turkish Cypriot member of the Committee on Missing Person (CMP) Gulden Plumer Kucuk.
Akinci repeated the appeal he made jointly with President Anastasiades for anyone with information on the missing to come forward. He said that helping those who had suffered to close this “bloodstained wound”, was a human duty.
The CMP had requested permission from the Turkish army to excavate in 30 military locations. President Akinci said that “It is not that permissions were not granted but they were being granted in small numbers,” Akinci said. “Today I invited them to convey this positive development we had as a result of our work with the military.”
Access will be given over a three year period, starting in January 2016, with ten sites to be excavated each year, the statement said. “This is a humanitarian matter and we must all be helpful, military and non-military,” Akinci said. He added that he expected the “unnecessary accusations” about accessing military areas for CMP excavations by the Greek Cypriots to end. In addition President Akinci said that there would be a donation made of 75,000 euros to the CMP.
Another member of the CMP, Paul-Henri Arni of the UN, described the development as a breakthrough. “It is very big news and I want to thank you, Mrs. Kucuk, and all those in Cyprus and elsewhere who helped to achieve this and receive this permission from Turkey,” he said. “It is a breakthrough for us.”
Elsewhere, ‘Sigmalive’ reports that the Republic of Ireland made a donation to the CMP of 25,000 euro on Wednesday. Over the past ten years, Ireland has given 275,000 euro in aid to the CMP.
The CMP is a bi-communal body established in 1981 by the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and 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 inter-communal strife in the 1960s and the 1974 Turkish military intervention.
So far, the CMP has so far identified 614 missing people – 469 Greek Cypriots and 145 Turkish Cypriots.
Cyprus Mail, Sigmalive