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Greek officer’s remains returned 46 years after death

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The remains of Georgios Katsanis, a Greek commander who was killed in Cyprus during the 1974 Turkish invasion, were handed over to his relatives on Thursday following a religious ceremony in Nicosia.

His remains were located in 2017 by the Committee of Missing Persons (CMP), along with seven other officers, in a mass grave in the area close to St. Hilarion Castle and Bellapais, in the northern, Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus.

Katsanis’ two daughters attended the service along with Defence Minister Savvas Angelides, Presidential Commissioner Photis Photiou and Greek Deputy National Defence Minister Alkiviadis Stefanis.

The Presidential Commissioner said that the effort to determine the fate of all missing persons, including that of 47 Greek citizens, will continue.

Stefanis honoured Katsanis for his sacrifice for the nation and assured those present that Greece will continue to support Cyprus while conveying the message that “the security of Cyprus is also our security.”

He thanked the government of Cyprus for the efforts to locate and identify the remains of all Cypriot and Greek fighters who perished during 1974.

Defence Minister Angelides decorated Katsanis with the medal for exceptional service of the Republic of Cyprus.

Katsanis’ coffin, wrapped in the flags of Cyprus and Greece, was handed over to the Hellenic Force in Cyprus, to be transported to Greece with a C-130 military aircraft.

His burial service will be held in his hometown, Sidirokastro, in northern Greece, on Saturday.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third. Since then, the fate of hundreds of people remains unknown.

A Committee on Missing Persons was established with the scope of exhuming, identifying and returning the remains of missing persons to their relatives. (source CNA)