Funding for renovation of Turkish Cypriot sites increases
Nicosia, Dec 3 – The Refugee Committee of the House of Representatives discussed here today issues relating to Turkish Cypriot religious monuments and heard that the government intends to increase funding for the renovation and the restoration of such monuments.
In a meeting on Wednesday, the Committee was briefed by Director of the Fund for the Management of Turkish Cypriot Property George Theodorou, as well as senior officials on this and other matters concerning the Fund.
The income of the Fund for 2009 is expected to reach 18.6 million euros compared to 16.5 million euros in 2008, while expenditure for 2009 is calculated at 19.6 million euros compared to 17.3 million euros in 2008. State grants for 2009 will be about 10.5 million euros, compared to 9.4 million euros in 2008.
Members of the Refugee Committee heard that significant sums were allocated in 2008 for renovating Turkish Cypriot houses, improving facades, and the maintenance of monuments, mosques and cemeteries.
Senior Administrative Officer of the Ministry of the Interior Mary Lambrou said the budgeted sums for maintenance purposes were fully used up every year, noting that there were difficulties due to the lack of technical teams for the renovation of Turkish Cypriot houses used by refugees, as well as works to remove asbestos from their roofs.
Regarding the maintenance of mosques and other Turkish Cypriot monuments in the government controlled areas, 18 mosques and some watermills have been declared listed buildings by the state but none have been recognized as cultural heritage monuments by the UN, UNESCO, the EU or any other international organization.
So far for their maintenance 3.5 million euros have been spent by the Department of Antiquities, which contributes 50% of the cost, while significant sums are given annually by the Fund.
These mosques were previously Greek Orthodox churches, to which minarets were added. Furthermore, the Department of Antiquities found that these buildings contain wonderful murals and other elements of archaeological value, which are being maintained along with the Moslem elements added later.