11 Turkish Cypriot children killed in 1974 laid to rest
Eleven Turkish Cypriot children who fell victim to Greek Cypriot terrorist organization EOKA-B’s violence in the Muratağa village of the divided island have been laid to rest after forty-seven years.
The remains of a total of 11 children, two girls and nine boys between the ages of 3 and 17 years old, were buried at a state ceremony on Dec. 20 with the participation of the relatives of victims and officials.
Speaking prior to the ceremony, Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar said that the Turkish Cypriot people had suffered a lot of pain in the past.
“Therefore, if there is to be a deal [in Cyprus], the guarantorship of Turkey and the presence of Turkish soldiers are essential for us. It is the red line,” he said.
On Aug. 14, 1974, a group of Greek Cypriot fanatics from neighboring villages flanked by Greek Cypriot soldiers raided three Turkish villages: Muratağa, Sandallar and Atlılar in Gazimağusa (Famagusta) district.
The militants rounded up 126 Turkish Cypriots in a village square and executed those resisting the roundup, while the rest who did not resist were taken outside the village and were buried together after they were killed.
Meanwhile, the excavations in the Muratağa-Sandallar mass grave have been completed, according to the information obtained from the U.N.-backed Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus.
While the bodies of 88 victims were found in the excavations, the number of people buried with yesterday’s ceremony reached 86. The identification efforts for two people are still ongoing.
The committee is working to return the remains of victims listed as missing to their families. To date, the committee has identified 1,022 out of the 2,002 missing individuals and returned their remains to their families.