EP rapporteur underlines to Tatar need to speed up process for missing persons, CNA 28/09/2023
European Parliament's Standing Rapporteur for the missing persons in Cyprus, Isabel Santos, stressed on Thursday during a meeting she had with Turkish Cypriot leader, Ersin Tatar, the need to speed up the process for establishing the fate of missing persons.
Head of the EP Office in Cyprus, Andreas Kettis, said in a post on X platform that Santos, who is paying a visit to Cyprus, met with Tatar "and conveyed a clear message: 'we can do better in speeding up the process. We need to help the families. Time is of essence'".
Moreover, Kettis said in another post that Santos also had on Thursday a constructive meeting with the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot members of the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP), Leonidas Pantelides and Hakki Müftüzade.
The EP Office in Cyprus said in a press release that Santos' second visit to Cyprus ended on Thursday after a series of constructive meetings.
On 28 September, MEP Santos had a joint meeting with the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot members of the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus and then she met with the Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar. Later on, MEP Santos visited a burial site in wider Nicosia and then had meetings with Greek Cypriot relatives of missing persons from the 1963-64 period as well as experts on the issue, the press release added.
Furthermore, it noted that within the context of her meetings, MEP Santos stated that she recognizes CMP’s important work, highlighting however that much more can be done. During her meeting with Tatar, she requested the full cooperation of the Turkish Cypriot community with CMP to increase results. She emphasized that we must help the families of missing persons from both communities so that they can find out what happened to their relatives and can proceed with their burials, the press release said.
At the burial site she visited with the CMP members, MEP Santos had the opportunity to see with her own eyes the harmonious collaboration of the scientists from both communities who are collaborating with CMP in order to achieve this utmost humanitarian objective.
Finally, MEP Santos confirmed that the report she is preparing will not tackle the political aspects of the Cyprus problem, but will deal exclusively with the essential humanitarian aspect of the missing persons issue, the press release concluded.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. Since then, the fate of hundreds of people remains unknown.
A Committee on Missing Persons has been established, upon agreement between the leaders of the two communities, with the scope of exhuming, identifying and returning to their relatives the remains of 492 Turkish Cypriots and 1,510 Greek Cypriots, who went missing during the inter-communal fighting of 1963-1964 and in 1974.