Remains of Greek officer to be handed over to relatives 46 years after Turkish invasion in Cyprus, CNA - Antonios Gkildakis - CYPRUS/Nicosia 12/02/2020
A ceremony to hand over the remains of George Katsanis, a Greek commander killed in Cyprus during the 1974 Turkish invasion, will take place on Thursday in Nicosia, allowing his relatives to bury him soon in his homeland, in Greece. The ceremony will be attended by Presidential Commissioner, Photis Photiou, and Greek Deputy Minister of National Defence, Alkiviadis Stefanis.
Katsanis was included the in a list of those fallen during the Turkish invasion. His remains were discovered last month by the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP) in a mass grave in the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus. Katsanis was fatally wounded on July 21, 1974, after being hit by a bullet of a Turkish sniper during warfare near St. Hilarion castle, in Kyrenia.
The ceremony to hand over his remains to his two daughters will take place on Thursday, at 10 am (local time) in the Church of God`s Wisdom, in Strovolos.
Photiou told CNA that “the government and the people of Cyprus hand over tomorrow the remains of a great hero, who fought for Cyprus” in order for his relatives to burry him, 46 years after his death. We bid farewell to Katsanis, a great hero, not just of Cyprus, but of the nation, the Presidential Commissioner added.
After Thursday’s ceremony, Katsanis’ remains will be brought by the Hellenic Force in Cyprus to the airport, to be subsequently transported to Greece with a C-130 military aircraft. The funeral will be held on Saturday, February 15, in Sidirokastro, near Serres, a town in northern Greece.
According to Photiou, there are more cases of remains from 1974 belonging to Greek nationals, which have been identified, but their transportation to Greece is delayed due to procedural reasons. In total, 47 Greek citizens who went missing in 1974 have not been found yet, Photiou concluded.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third. 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 the remains of missing persons to their relatives.