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The war crime committed by the Turkish Army in Ornithi Εκτύπωση E-mail

 

The testimony below has been published in the book by Rony Alasor, titled: "Διαταγή Εκτελέστε τους Αιχμαλώτους" [Order Execute the Prisoners], (Kastanioti Publishers, 2002).  On pages 117-119 the eyewitness O. Saat who in 1974 served in the Firepower Coordination Centre of the Artillery Command Unit, 1st Squadron of the 21st Artillery Regiment of the Turkish army, which was transferred to Cyprus two to three days after the first invasion, reports:


Order of a Top Ranking Turkish Commander: "load them on the train"

 

70 Missing Civilians executed in Ornithi by the Turkish Army

"Following the order of our Commander, Mehmet Gungkiormous or Gungkioren, we loaded them on military vehicles of our squad.  The Officers took their money, watches, and valuable chains that they had on them.  Some of them begged for their lives tearfully.  Our Commander, who at that time was a Major and later promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, tried to reassure them, not out of compassion, but rather to rid himself of their annoying pleas, by saying: "Don't cry, we will take you to your children".  Among the captives there were some persons who knew Turkish.  From what they were saying, those would be sent to a prisoners detention camp in Nicosia.  As a result they were boarded on to three military vehicles separately from others.  During the searches and checks we did in the homes of the village we did not find weapons of any kind.

 


In a few days, with the excuse that there was no more room in the detention camp where they had transported the prisoners, they brought back to our unit about 70-80 Greek Cypriots.  At the time we were located in Ayia.  Due to my specialty, I was close to my Commander's tent.  There I heard radio conversations between our Squadron Commander Mehmet Gungkiormous and his superiors.  Our Commander was asking them what to do with the prisoners. It was a problem for the unit. Not only their nutrition, but most importantly their holding. The order he was given was the following: "Load them on the train!"  Whoever heard this immediately understood that this meant: "Execute the prisoners!"  Everyone knew that in Cyprus there were no railway lines, or trains.

 


Ornithi Place of Mass GraveIn the morning of the following day the Commander called Bilal Gilmaz a racist and barbaric Sergeant. He called me also, because we were in the same unit.  Captain Ertzan Sandik approached us and asked us if we were married or not.  When I replied that I was married, he ordered me to get down. As a result I did not go with them. The Captain along with Bilal Gilmaz and Officer Mouchamer took the prisoners and drove them to a location where there were three wells.  Their eyes and hands were bound.  Our people were holding automatic Tomson weapons.  The area with the three wells was close to the village of Aphania and Tymbou, off the main road.  The prisoners were driven there.  After a while gun shots were heard.  I must inform you that Gilmaz, although he was just a Sergeant, he took a leading role in many operations and intervened in a lot of matters, which occasionally led me to raise questions whether he had a different rank, and for some reason pretended to be a sergeant. After this event he turned up with a conspiratory but self satisfying look and he described the execution to me. He was so proud for his great accomplishment. He said with arrogance: "We killed them, and those who were wounded [χαροπάλευαν - at death's door], we threw them into the wells. If only you were on one side to see how we threw a stout Greek Cypriot in the well. He dropped straight to the bottom.  What a sound it made! It was great fun, I enjoyed it".  Later the Commander reported on the radio "Order accomplished.  We loaded them on the train".  These 70 are gone..., for the rest of the 30 I have no information...


For as long as we remained in Aphania, there was some order.  We started to implement a programme of morning exercise. Our instructor was probably Bilal Gilmaz.  During our exercise session he would lead us running outside the village, in the location of the three wells.  The Sergeant would put his foot on top of the lids of the wells, which were now sealed, and shouted: "Soldiers! here we buried forever our enemies in such a way that they will never be able to return".

 

Note: the above is a translation from the original Greek text of the book.

 

 

The 70 Missing Civilians Murdered in Ornithi by the Turkish Army

Name Home Address Age
Andreas S. Fouskoulli Angastina 54
Antonis M. Antoniou Angastina 59
Theodoulos S. Solomou Aphania 49
Antonis Ch. Tambi Assia 56
Andreas D. Skouros Assia 59
Andreas P. Pratsis Assia 53
Andreas C. Christoukkou Assia 49
Antonis D. Diarkou Assia 62
Antonis Ch. Hadjiantonis Assia 54
Apostolos P. Tofa Assia 50
Charalambos G. Yiorkouni Assia 50
Christakis P. Hadjichristoudia  
Assia 74
Christos Y. Kouppa Assia 64
Christos G. Mias Assia 59
Christos H. Tsikkouris Assia 61
Christos P. Tofa Assia 67
Chrysostomos G. Kazamias
Assia 59
Cleanthis S. Christoforou Assia 50
Constantis Ch. Voskou
Assia 53
Constantis P. Stratouras
Assia 64
Costas Ch. Assiotis Assia 54
Costas D. Moustakas
Assia 62
David C. Photi
Assia 46
Demetrios A. Kambouris
Assia 58
Demetrios C. Kostrikkis
Assia 57
Demetris S. Demetriades Assia 56
Diomides H. Hadjiconstantis
Assia 57
Elias P. Hadjigavriel Assia 60
Frangopoulos D. Kishi
Assia 46
Georgios Ch. Pateras
Assia 61
Georgios Ch. Phori
Assia 55
Georgios M. Hadjikoutsou
Assia 68
Georgios D. Hadjitofi
Assia 52
Hadjikyriacos H. Hadjiyiannis Assia 65
Hadjikyriacos C. Kokkinis
Assia 74
Kyprianos Y. Charalambous
Assia 65
Kyriacos Ch. Kimis Assia 58
Kyriacos P. Kkouti
Assia 51
Kyriacos L. Hadjichristoudias
Assia 68
Kyriacos K. Kostrikkis
Assia 66
Lambros A. Pieri
Assia 56
Mattheos M. Papamichael
Assia 56
Michael Ch. Tambi
Assia 51
Michael Ph. Flamoudiotis
Assia 56
Michael H. Hadjidaniel
Assia 57
Michael Ch. Christoudias
Assia 68
Panayis P. Passkas
Assia 54
Panayis K. Tsitsou
Assia 58
Savvas K. Tzirka
Assia 58
Stylianos P. Pratsis
Assia 58
Tofis D. Hadjitofis
Assia 55
Vasos C. Vasiliou
Assia 54
Vasos Th. Vasiliou
Assia 50
Yiacoumis P. Koutis
Assia 62
Yiannis K. Kalli
Assia 64
Yiannos M. Ioannou
Assia 62
Andreas I. Ioannou
Kythrea 68
Andreas N. Zevlaris
Kythrea 62
Michael Ch. Michael
Kythrea 50
Xanthos N. Michaelides
Kythrea 56
Andreas P. Tziambos
Neo Chorio Kythreas   
54
Antonis H. Hari
Neo Chorio Kythreas
49
Christos Tz. Tziortzi
Neo Chorio Kythreas
51
Georgios M. Tanteles
Neo Chorio Kythreas
46
Kyriacos M. Menikou Neo Chorio Kythreas 50
Nicolas K. Photi
Neo Chorio Kythreas
59
Prodromos Y. Karayiannis Neo Chorio Kythreas 52
Savvas I. Leandrou
Neo Chorio Kythreas
62
Sophocles C. Zervos
Neo Chorio Kythreas
61
Andreas A. Petrasitis
Palekythro 55






 

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