A seminar entitled “Eradicating the past: Turkey’s assault on the cultural heritage of Cyprus” on the destruction of cultural heritage in the occupied part of Cyprus took place in London on July 17. The seminar was organized by the organization Lobby for Cyprus at the Art Theater.
The main speaker was the Mayor of Kyrenia (North Cyprus-occupied), Glafkos Kariolou, who made a brief presentation of the situation in which cultural monuments, chiefly of religious character, have perished in the occupied part of Cyprus.
As the Kyrenia Mayor said, 575 churches have been desecrated, 19 demolished and 41 converted into mosques or are used in a disrespectful way. Just a few temples and religious sites can still be used normally, but under strict limitations, he added.
Kariolou pointed out two cases of preservation of cultural monuments in the occupied part of his region of origin, which he represents as Mayor.
He referred to the restoration works of Saint George Church in Upper Kyrenia, where he and many more Greek-Cypriots awaited to go on May 6, Easter Monday, but received a last minute negative answer by the Turkish Cypriot authorities through the United Nations.
The seminar was part of Cyprus Week, which marked the 39 years since the Turkish invasion and occupation of the northern part of the Republic of Cyprus.
Lobby for Cyprus is a non-party-political human rights NGO based in the UK with the aim of reuniting Cyprus. It was formed in 1992 and since its inception has campaigned against the invasion, occupation, ethnic cleansing and destruction of the cultural heritage of 37 per cent of the Republic of Cyprus by Turkey, as reported on its website.