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Media Watch 2005

08 July 2005
Source: Cyprus Weekly
Author:
Comment: The following article appeared in the Cyprus Weekly of Nicosia on 8 July 2005.
No confirmation over remains
"THE government cannot confirm reports that the skeletal remains of 60 Greek Cypriots declared as missing are being temporarily stored in the basement of the Turkish Cypriot ‘foreign ministry’."

THE government cannot confirm reports that the skeletal remains of 60 Greek Cypriots declared as missing are being temporarily stored in the basement of the Turkish Cypriot ‘foreign ministry’.

Goverment Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides said such media reports only serve to upset and disappoint relatives of missing persons.

"If these statements were made even unofficially by the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, I consider this to be a violation of the confidentiality both sides have agreed upon regarding the missing persons issue," Chrysostomides told a news briefing.

According to both Politis newspaper and Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika, the remains of 60 Greek Cypriots killed during the 1974 Turkish invasion were in temporary storage in a ‘foreign ministry’ basement under the supervision of a forensic expert from UK-based INFORCE.

Politis quoted Talat as saying that the remains would remain there until they can be relocated to a forensic laboratory to be set up in the UN-controlled buffer zone. INFORCE experts will staff the laboratory to prepare the remains for DNA identification to be carried out at the bicommunal Institute of Neurology and Genetics.

The remains were unearthed in "emergency" digs in occupied Karavas that began late last month and will continue for a number of weeks at suspected multiple graves threatened by construction.

Politis said the number of people whose remains were exhumed comes as a surprise because it is much higher than initially believed.

Meanwhile, the Pancyprian Committee of Relatives of the Missing welcomed any initiative that would lead to the resolution the issue, despite the fact that it is too early to arrive at definite conclusions on developments.

In a statement, the Committee said the the start of digging is a positive step forward.

"The Committee is hopeful that the Turkish side has abandoned its stalling tactics and approaches the issue with sincerity," the Committee said."