The Leftovers of Eden

The ethnic conflicts between Greek and Turkish Cypriots that sparked on December 23, 1963 and led to a war, was finally ended in 1974 by dividing the island and the capital, Nicosia, into two parts.
During the ten-year conflict approximately 2,000 people disappeared from both sides - a fraction of them has already been recovered from mass graves, however many families do not know anything about their missing relatives up to this day.Their present is still the painful vividness of the past.
After fifty years the two communities have joined forces and with the support of the UN the search is ongoing to find the missing people.Getting closure from the past could prevent another conflict and could even help the yearned unification through collectively coping with the trauma they suffered.
But the island is increasingly becoming built-up. Older generations are replaced by the younger ones, and with the passage of time clues might disappear and the possibility to find answers becomes more uncertain...
‘I believe that there are people who know what happened in those days… I am not sure if they are willing to help. Because… you know, both sides areputting pressure on the people…’
the wife of a missing Cypriot
The ruins of Costis Kiriakou Tantis’ ‘hamam’ house in Nicosia. Tantis was both a Greek and Turkish Cypriot, stemming from a mixed marriage. He was killed due to ethnic reasons on July 29, 1958, before the conflict broke out. The two communities uncovered his story together.*
Michalis is a Greek Cypriot and grew up next to Tentis’ house. During the war, in 1974, he lost his older brother, then his home as well. He works in the ‘Together we can’ organization to locate missing people for the sake of both communities.


* http://sevgululudag.blogspot.com/2019/09/the-story-of-tanti.html
‘This is my inner world. During the day I talk to people and do things, but this is always on my mind and in my heart. Everything I do makes me remember; it’s always there.As the years went by, people thought I'd gone mad because I was buying new clothes and putting them in the wardrobe of my missing son - always keeping in mind his size must’ve changed as he got older - in case he comes home one day…’
the mother of a missing Cypriot
Huseyin, a Turkish Cypriot lost 36 family members in the conflict that had sparked in 1974. Most of his family was found in a mass grave, but he is still searching for the rest of his loved ones. His childhood home has been abandoned since the tragic events.
Thomas, a Greek Cypriot in front of the Solomon wishing tree. According to legend whoever hangs a handkerchief on this sacred tree will see their wishes fulfilled.
Thomas waited 41 years for his wish to be fulfilled - for his brother’s remains to be found.
...it’s like a basic human need, thirst. Thirst for love, the intimate wholeness that is family, home, and safety: the basis of human existence…This absence is the feeling of years stolen from one’s life.With dried out eyes and a dried out throat, this is living with the thirst of the heart'
the father of a missing Cypriot
The remains of Sevilay’s mother and father were found next to a construction in 2003, in a well that was marked for demolition. The well was just about to be buried.
Potential mass graves could still be present on both sides of the island, but their location is unknown.With the development of the island more and more areas are becoming built-up, due to which clues to some mass graves might disappear.
Even now, the families of approximately 1,000 missing people are hoping for them to be found.**

** http://www.cmp-cyprus.org/content/facts-and-figures
‘The more time passes, the more fresh this wound becomes. There is this waiting every morning and every evening for 45 years.What can a mother or a father hope for in a situation like this?Because if they find the bones, at least they can see them and give them a proper burial.They bury them and can visit them again. What happens to those whose loved ones are not found?
Will they have to wait forever?’
the mother of a missing Cypriot
Consultant: dr. Balázs Botos, former ambassador of Cyprus
Special thanks: Sevgul Uludag (Investigative journalist), Christiana Zenonos (Together we can), Bruce Koepke (CMP)

Made in 2019-2020 with the support of the National Cultural Fund of Hungary (NKA) and the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus