Cyprus has a great interest in the return of the Parthenon Marbles to their natural environment, Education Minister Costas Kadis said on Wednesday in an interview with the Cyprus News Agency, which has launched a campaign for their return to Greece.
The marbles were stolen 200 years ago by Lord Elgin and are still in the UK.
Cyprus is “particularly interested in the return of the marbles where they belong,” Kadis said.
“We are interested in this campaign because of our Greek heritage but also as a nation which has suffered from the pillage and the destruction of its cultural heritage and the theft of artefacts from the place they belong,” he said, explaining that he is referring to the areas of Cyprus which have been under Turkish occupation since 1974.
Kadis said that “the effort for the return of the marbles to Athens was put in the spotlight in particular by Melina Mercouri when she served as Greece`s Minister of Culture and has been embraced as an idea by public opinion both within the United Kingdom and internationally.”
He said he was given the opportunity to present CNA`s initiative at a meeting he had with the Greek Minister of Culture, Lydia Koniordou, on the sidelines of an EU Culture Ministers Conference and assured that his ministry would stand by the effort.
Replying to a question about the return of Cypriot cultural and religious relics, the minister said that it was “a multi-level effort which involved various government departments and the Church of Cyprus because many of the cultural heritage relics have been plundered from religious sites.”