Sun, Jan 25, 2009 - Page 6 News List

Cyprus calls on Turkey to account for missing people


Cyprus urged Turkey on Friday to account for some 1,500 people missing since its invasion of the island 35 years ago. The call came after a former Turkish army conscript described how he had executed a prisoner of war.

Later in the day, however, the conscript retracted his statement, saying it was false and that he had made up the story to attract attention to the brutality of war.

Actor Attila Olgac reportedly told a Turkish TV program last week that while serving in the Turkish army during the 1974 invasion he shot at least one prisoner dead on orders from a superior.

“The first person that I killed was a 19-year-old soldier who was taken prisoner,” Olgac was quoted as saying on the program, the Hurriyet daily said on its Web site. “When I aimed my gun at his face, he spat on my face. I shot him in the forehead. He died. Later on, I killed nine more people during clashes.”

Turkey invaded Cyprus in response to a coup by Athens-backed supporters of union with Greece.

In Cyprus on Friday, government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou described the interview as “shocking” and said it was the first time anyone had made such an admission.

He said Olgac’s remarks underscored Turkey’s obligation to abide by the European Court of Human Rights’ rulings and cooperate in uncovering the circumstances of the disappearances.

Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos said Olgac’s account was “a stunning testimony and confession,” and he urged Turkey to take action.

Around 1,500 Greek Cypriots and 500 Turkish Cypriots vanished during the invasion and in clashes in the early 1960s.

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