Soldiers from mass grave in Turkey identified

Back in 2006, officials from the United Nations Committee on Missing Persons located a mass grave of nineteen people in northern Turkey. According to this article, five of the bodies have been identified as Greek Cypriot soldiers. 35 years ago Turkey invaded Cyprus (which, for the uninitiated, is an island nation in the Mediterranean sea, which is bilaterally divided into the “Greek side” and the “Turkish side”) and about 1600 people disappeared without a trace, not just soldiers either: there were over a hundred kids under seventeen and over three hundred old people sixty and over. (These numbers come from the Missing Cypriots website.) Very few of them have ever been found. The last sign of those particular five disappeared people was when they were photographed upon surrendering to the Turks and becoming prisoners of war. The oldest man was thirty years old, the youngest only nineteen. I’m not 100% sure but it looks like the other fourteen people in the grave are still unidentified.

That Turkey has committed war crimes (the Armenian genocide of the nineteen-teens also comes to mind) is not shocking to me. Many countries have done so — not that that doesn’t make a terrible thing, but what I’m saying is that Turkey is hardly alone in having committed atrocities. But they should at least admit it. Turkey has maintained a stony silence as to the 1974 invasion and what happened to the missing Cypriots. And they won’t even acknowledge the existence of the Armenian genocide. I am not holding present-day Turks responsible for what their fathers and grandfathers did, but the government should do the right thing and fess up and try to make amends, rather like Germany has. Revealing the ultimate fate of all the missing Cypriots, uncovering more mass graves if necessary, would be a good start.

Having a relative who is missing for political reasons or war-related reasons has got to be at least as stressful as having a missing relative of the kind listed on the Charley Project. You don’t know where they are, if they’re hurt, if they have enough to eat, where they lay their heads at night, even if they’re alive at all. The people of Cyprus deserve this closure.

4 thoughts on “Soldiers from mass grave in Turkey identified

  1. Michael August 13, 2009 / 4:33 pm

    The turks had long been suspected of war crmes, almost always for religious reasons, and dont forget about the Kurds in their eastern area who are also targeted. Although interesting, I question what exactly does this have to do with the Charley Project?

    • Meaghan August 13, 2009 / 4:52 pm

      These are missing people too.

  2. Justin December 31, 2009 / 4:16 am

    My father was in the Army during the Korean War, so I made a point of reading up on the conflict. You don’t hear much about the Korean War nowadays.

    Anyway, from what I read, the Turkish soldiers fighting for the United Nations in Korea were regarded as some of them most ferocious, take no prisoners, scorched earth type troops in the conflict. They didn’t retreat and would attack with bayonets when they ran out of ammunition. Hard Core. Like I said, they didn’t take prisoners and almost were never taken prisoner themselves. That mentality has been in existance for any conflict they have been in since the days of the Ottoman Empire and before. I am not surprised in the least that they killed anyone they regarded as an enemy, civilian or military, even after the surrendered.

    Turkey has never been on good terms with Greece, so I don’t expect them to say anything about missing Cypriots and Greek soldiers just because the rest of the world thinks the families of the missing deserve closure. The Turks are Muslims and the Greeks are Orthodox Christians. Oil and water. They have been hating each other for hundreds of years and it’s not going to stop any time soon.

  3. Kate July 28, 2010 / 2:51 pm

    I visited the website you mentioned about the missing Cypriots. It is just hard to look at such a list and to know that those who are listed are only a fraction of those that are still missing. It is truly hard to wonder what happens to all of the people on earth that go missing and it tugs at your heart strings to think that humanity is capable of such atrocities and that those who have committed such acts are still here with us and that they are the ones who will continue to breed and have children here on earth. It really is shocking and horrifying to think about.

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