Translation of article in Milliyet (23.6.76)
In this issue of the Istanbul daily, MILLIYET of 23 June, 1976 (page 5) Mr Mehmet Ali Birand, the Turkish journalist who visited Cyprus, writes under the heading ALLOW US TO SEARCH FOR THE MISSING PERSONS:
"One of the problems created after the war is the missing Greek Cypriots" question. In order to find the missing persons the Greeks have formed a Committee. Formed after the pattern of similar committees during the British administration of Cyprus, the Committee is working very efficiently.
The President of the Committee, Mr. Fysentzides, has appealed to Turkey and to the Turkish community in Cyprus to help them locate these missing persons.
Mr. Fysentzides has said in his appeal: "Relying on the pictures published in the Turkish press and on documents and lists submitted by the UN and Turkish authorities, we have established that 2,000 of our compatriots are missing after the Turkish military operation. They are our fathers and sons. As families we are in distress. We want to know whether or not they are dead. If they are, we will try to remedy our grief.
However, the Turkish leadership is refusing to answer our call. This has nothing to do with propaganda. If the Turkish authorities agree, we will send four or five people and under the Turkish army's supervision, we will search for them, because we have established from the list submitted to us that they are alive. Try to understand our suffering and help us.
The Pancyprian Committee of Parents and Relatives of Undeclared Prisoners of War and Missing Persons bases its arguments on pictures published in the Turkish press and on UN name-lists of prisoners to be returned. The Committee believes that the missing persons are still alive and perhaps it could locate and find some of them. "We are ready to obey all your orders", says the Committee's President.
Under this interview a picture is published in which four Greek National Guardsmen are shown surrendering to the Turkish forces. Mr. Birand writes:
"The Greeks are continuing their propaganda, especially on missing persons and POWs. People visiting Cyprus are handed brochures, in which this above picture is included. The following is printed under the picture: The picture was taken by a Turkish war corespondent captured by Greek National Guardsmen."
When I returned to Turkey, Mr. Ergun Konuksever saw the picture by chance and quickly recognized it and said: "It was I who took this picture when I was wounded in Kuchuk Kaimakli (Omorphita) and taken prisoner by Greeks. They seized my three cameras and films. In spite of the UN's decision, they did not return them to me when I was freed. I remember very well taking this picture in Serdarli (Chattos village) during the tank operation. These are the Greek POWs captured by the tank crew MERIC I and the soldier in the foreground is Corporal Mustafa from SAMSUN offering cigarettes to the POWs".