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President of Cyprus accuses Turkey of destroying churches


Moscow , January 23, Interfax – President of Cyprus Tassos Papandopoulos accused Turkey of destroying churches in the northern part of the island.
‘I consider it my duty to remind of the destruction of Christian churches and desecration of the holy sanctuaries in the part of our homeland occupied by the Turkish army’, Papandopoulos said at the ceremony for the presentation of the award of the International Foundation for the Unity of Orthodox Nations held in the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow on Saturday
According to the head of the State of Cyprus, ‘the criminal Turkish occupation’ of the last thirty years has led to the ‘organized pillage of the Christian holy sites and systematic plundering’ of the Orthodox cultural heritage in the northern part of the Cyprus.
Earlier that same day Papandopoulos met Patriarch Alexy of Moscow and All Russia and told him that during the years of occupation about 350 Orthodox churches had been destroyed or used as entertainment facilities or even stalls for cattle.
The President of Cyprus expressed his gratitude to Alexy II for ‘unremitting attention to the destiny of the Cypriots and profound knowledge of the problems of Cyprus .’ He also noted the ‘strong stance of Russia ’ on the problem of Cyprus , a participant in the meeting reported Interfax.