The remains of 33 Turkish Cypriot villagers who died in 1974, were laid to rest on Monday.
The villagers had been transported by bus and shot by Greek Cypriots, during Turkey’s peacekeeping mission in 1974. Their remains were discovered two years ago, down a mine shaft.
Turkish Cypriot member of the Committee on Missing Persons, Gulden Plumer Kucuk, told the Associated Press that the mass burial in Taskent village came exactly 42 years after they died. The remains of 45 other people who had also been aboard the buses, were buried in the village in 2014.
Around 1,500 Greek Cypriot and 500 Turkish Cypriots vanished during the conflict and in armed skirmishes between the two communities in the mid 1960’s.
Official figures record that the remains of 1,000 missing persons have been unearthed. Some 680 people have so far been identified, but 200 Turkish Cypriots and around 800 Greek Cypriots remain missing.
Kucuk said a spokesman told those gathered at Mondays’ burial that relatives are glad that those who died now rest in peace and that they can hear their families’ prayers nearby instead of the heavy trucks driving over their former mass burial site.
The sole survivor of the murders told UN officials about the killings. Decades later, the remains of the villagers were found and removed.
Some progress has been made in the search for those who are still missing in the North, Kucuk said. Some of those may never be found, she said.
“We have to be honest that some burial places have been lost because of construction that has taken place over the decades,” Kucuk said.
An official appeal by both sides has been made for anyone with any knowledge of possible burial sites to come forward. Many family members have died without knowing exactly what happened to their missing relatives.