Destruction of Cyprus’ cultural heritage theme of photo exhibition
Nicosia, Nov 20 – The continuing destruction of Cyprus’ cultural heritage, in the Turkish-occupied part of the country, is the theme of a photo exhibition which has opened in Brussels and will run until the end of the month.
“The destruction of the cultural heritage in occupied Cyprus is not happening at some time in the past. The reality is that a country aspiring to join the European Union is party to this – if not the instigator. And this is what I call scandalous,” Belgian federal Senator Philippe Monfils, chairman of the Joint Parliamentary Cyprus-Belgium Group has said at the opening of the exhibition.
He wondered whether Turkey actually realizes that it should not only comply with the acquis communautaire relating to economic and social matters but it should also show respect for the fundamental principles.
“Culture is indeed one of these fundamental principles,” he stressed.
He expressed regret at the stance UNESCO has adopted on the matter on the pretext that the occupied areas of Cyprus are not recognized. In this respect, the Senator believes that UNESCO could have addressed itself to the Turkish Prime Minister asking him to intervene to stop the pillage of Greek Orthodox churches and monasteries and halt the illegal sale of ancient artifacts around the globe.
Cyprus’ Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou Markoulli, who was also present at the opening of the exhibition, said this was merely a small sample of the tragedy and the repercussions of the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus.
“One must never forget these unacceptable results, in the aftermath of the invasion, and we shall always condemn them and demand implementation of the principles on which the EU has been founded,” she said.