In recent time, several photographs of Greek-Cypriot captives have been in the spotlight during the Turkish invasion in 1974. On multiple occasions, the reason behind it was to gather information on the people depicted in order to make them easier to identify.
On November 9, photos of a missing man were published by the Turkish media, captioned, “Greek-Cypriot arrested trying put poison in a well that Turkish soldiers used to drink water.”
The individual was a captive tortured by the Turks during the invasion and no one apparently knows what happened to him since then, according to a report by Sigma Live.
In the photo he looks battered, as pointed out in the report, though the caption in the Turkish press attempted to accuse him of wrongdoing instead.
The Turkish invasion 48 years later
Vasos Christou, the President of War Captives 1974, and Odysseas Christou, Historical Researcher, Geologist, Specialist in Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing, spoke about the man shown in the photos on Protoselido. Christou noted that, after 48 years, they were seeing the light of day for the first time.
Prisoners in Turkish prisons are pictured, as well as people who surrendered to the Turks and have been missing ever since. He said that even though the images show a man who appears to have been abused, the Turkish press attempted to shift the blame on him.
Christou further added that surrounding the Cypriot captive were multiple Turkish officers who seemed proud of their accomplishment. “The abused man was tortured and this is shown by the wounds on his body. That may have been his last cigarette.”
With the man’s identity still remaining unknown, he stressed, “Who is he, is he missing? Where does he come from? Where was the photo taken?”
The prisoner’s injuries
The president of War Captives 1974 went on to mention that the hands of the prisoner of war were deformed either due to a congenital disability or accident at work. “His fingers are deformed. From the wrists of his hands we can see with how much fury they had tied him up. Most of the captives were tied with wires.”
He also explained that the Cypriot had a head injury and appeared to be wearing a wedding ring. “This man did not come from another planet, he is from Cyprus. We don’t know his identity, nor his fate.”
In 1975, the Turks tried to force the few trapped to leave the village of Bellapais in Cyprus, according to the report.
“They arrested 13-year-olds and 14-year-olds accusing them of trying to put rat poison in water of the tank supplying the camp.” He said that they arrested six minors, taking them to the Castle of Kyrenia and where they were abused.
“This is Turkish Propaganda,” Christou said
Through his perspective, researcher Odysseas Christou said, “These photos were published in magazines with the caption, ‘We’re the good Turkish soldiers who gave a cigarette and water to a Greek-Cypriot captive who tried to poison our water,’ emphasizing that it was propaganda.
The researcher clarified reports claiming that he was a resident of Kyrenia, Lapithos. “He was a strong man and EOKA fighter. He was involved in the coup and when the bombings began, he went to the Castle of Kyrenia to release the prisoners. We have testimonies identifying him on the battlefields.”