At the time that religious freedom is preached by Prime Minister Recep Tayip Erdogan, the Turkish occupation forces brutally expelled the abbot of the oldest Greek Cypriot Orthodox monastery this week.
Government Spokesman Vasilis Palmas condemned Thursday the expulsion of the abbot of the monastery of Apostolos Varnavas (Saint Barnabas) in the northern occupied part of Cyprus in the middle of a church service.
“Unfortunately this is not the first time that such phenomena take place. Needless to say that we condemn such behaviour which does not contribute to the creation of a positive climate between the two communities,” Cyprus government spokesman Vassilis Palmas said.
On the contrary, Palmas added, it creates tension and raises suspicion, sentiments which do not help at all the effort to build a positive climate with regard to the Cyprus problem.
Apostolos Varnavas is the founder of the autonomous Church of Cyprus. The monastery bearing his name is situated outside the Turkish occupied town of Famagusta, under Turkish military control since the 1974 invasion.
Earlier this week, the Cyprus government allowed for the smooth passage of hundred of Turkish Cypriots from the occupied north to an outpost on the north western coast of the island to commemorate the battles between Greek and Turkish Cypriots 43 years ago.