Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades has canceled a meeting with Archbishop Elpidophoros in New York City, amid reports that Nicosia and Athens were displeased after the high churchman attended the opening of a Turkish House a day earlier.
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According to Kathimerini Cyprus, reports came in from New York that Anastasiades had canceled a scheduled meeting with Archbishop Elpidophoros, the Head of the Greek Orthodox Church in America.
No further information or details had been shared about the cancelation, but media and political pundits were quick to speculate that the Cypriot president had given the Archbishop the cold shoulder. Reports quickly picked up on another story about Elpidophoros, who attended a ceremony for the opening of Turkevi Center on Monday.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who officiated over the inauguration of the Turkish House, called the landmark building "a masterpiece" and a reflection of Turkey's place on the world stage.
A photo-up showing Elpidophoros during the ribbon-cutting ceremony along Erdogan and Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar also prompted reaction from Greeks and Armenians in the US
But a Tweet from Elpidophoros raised eyebrows in Athens and Nicosia, as well as among Greeks and Armenians in the US, after the Archbishop congratulated Erdogan.
“I congratulated Pres. Erdogan on the opening of the Turkevi Center, together with UN SG Guterres. As always I insist on the importance of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the re-opening of the Halki Theological School, and supporting the rights of religious minorities of Turkey,” Elpidophoros wrote.
A photo-up showing Elpidophoros standing along dignitaries during the ribbon-cutting ceremony, including Erdogan and Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar, also prompted reaction from the Armenian National Committee of America.
“Shunned by the DC establishment (hawks, doves, and everyone in between) – desperately seeking allies – Erdogan recruits Azerbaijani diplomats, representatives of the illegal Turkish occupation force in Cyprus, and the Greek Orthodox Church for this staged photo op in NYC,” ANCA wrote.
Erdogan has launched a pre-campaign to celebrate next year his nation’s achievement ahead of the 100th anniversary of the Turkish Republic, including the Turkevi Center, a building with 36 floors located just across the street from UN headquarters, with the structure featuring traditional Turkish architectural motifs.
"We are proud because of we are adding to the silhouette of New York, with a sterling example of our historical and traditional architecture," Erdogan said.
Anastasiades traveled to New York to attend the UN General Assembly. According to the Cyprus News Agency, the president went ahead and met with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, with the two men having a meeting that lasted about 20 minutes.
“We have laid out views, positions, and how a creative dialogue without prerequisites could be restarted,” Anastasiades said.