A seminar on the destruction of cultural heritage in the Turkish occupied north of Cyprus was the highlight of an event organized in London last week by Lobby for Cyprus.
Mayor of Turkish occupied town of Kyrenia, Glafcos Kariolou presented the current state of the cultural monuments, mainly monuments of religious character, noting that 557 churches have been looted, 19 have been demolished and 41 turned into mosques or are used for undignified purposes.
Only a handful of churches can be used for religious purposes and even those under strict restrictions.
He pointed out two cases of monuments in Kyrenia which he comes from. The first is the church of Saint George of Pano Kyrenia, which is undergoing restoration and Greek Cypriot pilgrims were anticipating to attend the Easter Monday service on 6 May. However, the UN informed that the Turkish Cypriot authorities declined the request.
Kariolou also expressed concern about the conditions, which the Kyrenia Ship is being stored, adding that there are reports about dangerous dust particles affecting the wreck which was recovered in 1965 by his father, Andreas Cariolou on the seabed 33 meters below the surface. Kyrenia was one of the merchant ships sailing the Mediterranean during the age of Alexander the Great and was built in the early 4th century B.C.
Kyrenia ship is scheduled to be renovated by the British Frost Foundation and the EU.
Also attending the event was Tasoula Hadzitofi, founder of the Non-Governmental Organisation Walk of Truth, who is renowned for her efforts to repatriate looted cultural treasures, as well as Jim Kariyiannis, member of the Canadian Parliament and Lobby for Cyprus lawyer and Lobby for Cyprus lawyer Costas Frangeskides.