Lobby for Cyprus is a non-party-political human rights organisation campaigning for a reunited Cyprus.
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Letters

To: David Miliband, The Foreign Secretary
26 February 2009
RE:The missing persons of Cyprus

Dear Foreign Secretary

 

We would like to bring to your attention the recent statements concerning the fate of the missing persons in Cyprus, following claims that Greek Cypriot prisoners of war were executed in cold blood, during and after the military invasion of the Republic of Cyprus, in contravention of the Geneva Convention.

 

The recent claims were made by Turkish actor, Attila Olgac, on prime time Turkish TV who spoke of killing ten captured Greek Cypriot soldiers. Further claims were made by Turkish military personnel in the book “Kill the War Prisoner” which is an account of further brutal killings of Greek Cypriot prisoners of war, at the direct order of the Turkish military. These statements have caused immense pain and distress to the families of those that have been listed as missing since 1974 and highlighted once again the failure of the International community to take action to bring to an end the suffering of the relatives of the missing.

 

In addition to the admissions of the former Turkish military personnel, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), in the case of Varnava and others v Turkey, found Turkey to be guilty of violating the European Convention of Human Rights, by failing to conduct an effective investigation into the fate of the nine applicants, who have been missing since 1974. The Court held that there had been a continuing violation of their right to life. Through the same failings, Turkey was guilty of subjecting the relatives of the nine applicants to inhumane and degrading treatment. The Court further noted that the missing persons had been seen alive under the detention of the Turkish army, in both Cyprus and Turkey, after the hostilities of 1974 had ceased and on this basis held that Turkey had violated their right to liberty.

 

Pressure should be exerted on the Turkish authorities to ensure that a proper and thorough independent investigation is carried out on the fate and whereabouts of all the missing persons in line with the demands of the ECHR and the admissions made by their own military.

 

Turkey is responsible for the disappearance of more than 1,500 people many of whom are civilian men, women and children. Their families have endured years of pain and uncertainty, unable to even carry out proper religious ceremonies for their loved ones. This is purely a humanitarian issue and it is time that Turkey and the international community act to ensure that a swift resolution is finally reached.

 

We look forward to your support and any comments/suggestions that you may have.