Nearly a half-century later, a Turkish Cypriot man was properly laid to rest in a funeral yesterday, the latest in coming to terms with Cyprus's painful past.
İbrahim Ramadan, a 38-year-old father of four, was taken from his home by Greek Cypriots and killed in 1974 when a Greek Cypriot coup was followed by violence against the island's Cypriot Turkish community. Ramadan's remains was one of five bodies found in a mass grave during excavations in the Tekke Garden of Lefkoşa in Turkish Cyprus. The island's Committee on Missing Persons determined Ramadan's identity using DNA samples from his family.
Politicians, representatives from nongovernmental organization and mourners attended the ceremony to support Ramadan's family. After funeral prayers at Göçmenköy Mosque, Ramadan's remains were buried in Boğaz Martyrs Cemetery with a military ceremony.
The Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus is working to return the remains of victims listed as missing in 1963, 1964 and 1974 to their families. To date, the committee has identified 861 out of the 2,002 missing individuals and returned their remains to their families.
Many people went missing in the 1960s and in 1974 as tensions between Turkish and Greek Cypriots escalated to abductions and extrajudicial killings. Although the Turkish military operation in 1974 succeeded in stopping the killings, the burial sites of those missing remain unclear and work to identify discovered remains is taking a long time. Time is the main obstacle in identifying the remains. As time has passed, forensic teams' meticulous work of identifying the victims has been hindered by a lack of witnesses and remaining relatives.