41-year mystery to be solved: NORATLAS has been found

Greeks brought down the Greek military transport aircraft by “friendly fire” during the 1974 Peace Operation. 32 Greek commandos were buried together with the plane at first. The remains sent to Greece at the request of the family and it was found out that the remains were belonged to others. Now, the Greeks have started the excavation after the decision of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and reached to the tail of the aircraft.

Greek commandos’ scandal, a “black spot” in the Greek history, was realized as follows: on July 21st 1974, the second day of Turkish troops on the island, 195th anti-aircraft battalion lieutenant colonel Yannidis Konstantinos, who protected the only airport under the Greek control in Nicosia, saw the approaching aircraft in the sky and he gave the fire order because he supposed them as Turkish aircraft. Anti-aircraft battalion dropped one of the aircraft and caused heavy damage to three.  But the aircraft was carrying the soldiers of the 1st Greek Commando Regiment from Crete to Cyprus with a fleet of 15 vehicles. 32 soldiers died and one survived by jumping from the Greek carrier aircraft NORATLAS. Greeks gathered the remains of the dead and buried with the plane. Then they built on a military memorial Timvos Makedonitisan along with the 449 Greek soldiers who died in Peace Operation.

In 1979, graves of the Greek commando’s re-dug and their bodies sent to Athens. The symbolic tombs stayed in the military cemetery in Nicosia. The Greek families buried their corps in another military cemetery with a funeral in Athens. Some of the families was opened the graves due to the rumors in 1990, DNA testing was done. And the scandal exploded at the end of it. It was found out that at least 10 of the bodies were not belonged to the Greek commandos. The Greek families applied to ECHR. The case was concluded last year and the court made a decision in order to find true bodies. The Greeks received the first result of the excavations which continued during a year. The Greek Cypriot officials said they found the tail of the aircraft and they will reach to bones within a month. (Kıbrıs Postası)