Thursday, October 9, 2014
From Pervolia to Gaziveran…
Tel: 00 357 99 966518
00 90 542 853 8436
We travel to Pervolia, Larnaca to meet a witness, relative of a `missing person`, one of my readers… He is keen to help… He knows pain, he has seen pain, he has seen how much destruction pain creates if you are a relative of a `missing person`. He has first-hand experience of pain… He wants to be the balm to ease that pain, to cure it, to help others who are suffering… Our earth is blessed to have such courageous persons taking the extra step to ease the pain of others… He is Greek Cypriot and he is helping us to try to find the remains of a Turkish Cypriot `missing` from 1964…
He had called me earlier and had said he had some information about a possible burial site in Pervolia, Larnaca.
`You know better how to arrange so I can show this place` he had said. `I made some investigations, I spoke with some people and they showed me a place…`
`I will arrange with the officials of the Cyprus Missing Persons' Committee so we can come and you can show us` I had told him.
So we travel on Friday the 19th of September, 2014 to Pervolia to meet him. He does not live in Pervolia but elsewhere but he comes all the way from his village to meet us and show us. We go together with the Assistant of the Greek Cypriot Member of the Cyprus Missing Persons' Committee, Xenophon Kallis and Okan Oktay, the Coordinator of Exhumations.
We meet our witness in Pervolia and after having coffee, we move together, him driving in the front, leading us and we are at the back going outside Pervolia. He stops somewhere and we follow him.
`This is the spot` he says `where there might be two wells. The Turkish Cypriot `missing person` might be in one of these two wells…`
One of his friends had watched the whole thing and got frightened.
`One of my friends at that time, back in 1964 was here` he says. `He saw some Greek Cypriots stop a car, take the driver out of the car, drag him up to here and then he heard shots… He felt so frightened, he left…`
He spoke to four different persons while investigating the fate of this `missing` Turkish Cypriot.
`Two others confirmed that he had been killed and buried here, in a well.`
In fact although the well is closed, we can see the contours of the mouth of the well – we can even make out another contour of perhaps a second well…
`They said the well was about 5 meters deep` he explains…
`Only the fourth person I spoke to confirmed that they buried him in the well but later took him out of the well and buried him somewhere on the beach… I don't believe this is true` he says.
Another Greek Cypriot reader had told me the story of this well and we had even come again together with the officials of the Cyprus Missing Persons' Committee back in 2011 in order to locate this well. We had gone around the whole plot and looked at each and every well and this one had seemed the most probable, the farthest and the closed one…
So now, this witness is reconfirming this information and this is very important since it opens the way of the investigation and the excavations if the Cyprus Missing Persons' Committee decide to excavate. Because it is not from a single source but is being confirmed as a possible burial site.
We go to the front of the area where he wants to show us more wells. We meet the owners that we had met the previous time we had been here back in 2011. They know nothing of course since they are just renting this place now, 50 years after the crime…
We look back to where we had stopped when we came in…
`I don't think they carried him all the way here` our witness says, `since he was a very well built and fat person – it would not have been easy to drag him all this way…`
He is right of course…
We take photos again and take coordinates again and thanking everyone present, we leave… Our witness has been courageous enough to call me and to come here today to show us this possible burial site. Not everyone is courageous enough to tell us what they know. I thank him and think of last week when at a gathering for lunch with different people, a Turkish Cypriot I had known for many years – a very sensitive person when it comes to human rights, peace and democracy – surprised me when he started telling me stories from his childhood…
`See, I never said this to anyone – this is the first time I am telling this to someone in the last forty years` he said.
`I saw people being executed and it was such a big shock, I never spoke about it… It was just outside Gaziveran, where there is a new hotel… Nine Greek Cypriots were taken from Gaziveran and put on a truck and taken just outside the village – as kids, we followed the truck, running after the truck… The truck stopped and they took them down and killed them there while we watched secretly and then dragged them out of our sight… We were so much in shock we ran back…`
`Can't you show us this place?`
`It was next to the new hotel, on the beach… I don't know what they did with the bodies…`
`Perhaps they buried them there or if there were some caves in that area? We could ask the Cyprus Missing Persons' Committee to go and do a surface search in the area…`
`They also killed some people near a small church behind the Ikidere (Dyo Potamos) village – there was this priest who had been arrested with some people and when they were leaving, the priest said, `Wait a minute, I forgot something` and they stopped, he went in and got a shotgun and fired at the soldiers, so they were executed in that area…`
Information he kept locked up for the past 40 years comes in a flow like the waves in the sea while he starts telling me of other things he heard and saw when our host stops us:
`Enough of graves and missing persons` she says, `Food is ready, let's move to the table to eat…`
We sit down to eat and the topics of conversation change but I will call him later on to sit and talk quietly and to see if he can show us the place close to Gaziveran…
I thank all who try to help to ease the pain of others and ask you to call me if you have anything to share on my mobile number 99 966518. I do not want to know your name if you don't want to say it to me – if you know of possible burial sites, please help us in our humanitarian task in easing the pain of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot relatives of `missing` persons…
Photo: View from the possible burial site in Pervolia, Larnaka.
(*) Article published in the POLITIS newspaper on the 5th of October 2014, Sunday.