Newsroom / CNA
Chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on Petitions Cecilia Wikstrom on Monday urged Europe to take further action to protect Cyprus’ cultural heritage in the Turkish-held north of the island.
She was addressing an exhibition in Nicosia, marking the European Year of Cultural Heritage.
“I in my capacity as Chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on Petitions I am bringing colleagues on a fact-finding visit to Cyprus on the issue of Famagusta and tomorrow we are aiming at reaching as closely as we possibly can to Famagusta,” Wikstrom said.
“Every invader though has left cultural traces, what is today the cultural heritage of this beautiful island,” she added.
“Hundreds - and I have seen this - hundreds of churches, monasteries are being vandalised, desecrated"
If that history, the MEP added, “is systematically looted it’s a loss of civilization since the cultural heritage shape who we are our identities and our everyday lives. It also defines the future for us.”
“That’s why we need to work together to protect the cultural heritage."
Wikstrom pointed out that “the destruction of the cultural heritage in Cyprus is, therefore, an extremely serious and important issue.”
“Hundreds - and I have seen this - hundreds of churches, monasteries are being vandalised, desecrated, demolished during the past forty plus years.”
As a Christian and a fellow human being, she said, “it breaks my heart to see these monuments being torn down.”
According to Wikstrom, we can no longer be “bystanders and just watch as European history is erased right in front of our eyes.”
“Enough is enough...this is something that Europe should take even further action on.” Especially, she pointed out, “this year it becomes slightly ironic if we speak about it and take no action.”
“it is intolerable that as an EU member state Cyprus is still under occupation more than 40 years.”
“Decades in which our historical monuments are falling apart in front of our eyes,” she said.