Cyprus Mail

Collective effort required to protect our cultural heritage, Demetriou says

ΠτΒ Παρουσίαση τόμου Αγία Σοφία: Οι ναοί της του Θεού Σοφίας ανά τον κόσμο
Photographs of some of the churches included in the book

The attempt to misrepresent historical memory is a continuing policy on the part of Turkey, and it takes a collective effort to restore historic truth and protect monuments, House president Annita Demetriou said on Saturday.

She was speaking during the presentation on a book about churches around the world and in history called Ayia Sophia.

The books presents 37 so named churches including two in Cyprus – in Nicosia and Paphos – and highlights the issue of the conversion of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul into a mosque.

Demetriou said it was a valuable publication in response to Turkey’s lawless action to turn the most iconic Christian church into a mosque, and “an action and reaction to Turkish intolerance and religious fanaticism.

“The multilingual edition is an important means of raising awareness among the international audience about this universal and unique monument, which is a common cultural heritage for all humanity,” she added.

At the same time, the House president said that the attempt to misrepresent historical memory was a continuing policy of Turkey, with visible impacts “in our long-suffering Cyprus” and that the cultural and religious monuments in north are irrefutable witnesses of Turkish intolerance.

“Indeed, the opening of the closed city of Famagusta constitutes another shocking example of the violation of basic rights and the circumvention of fundamental international and European agreements,” she added.

“For almost 50 years we have been watching with pain and agony the violation and destruction of our holy temples and monuments in our occupied homeland,” Bishop Athanasios of Limassol said at the same event.

“All these tragic dramas are not just stories about distant places, but our daily traumas and painful experiences,” he added.

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