Cultural destruction

The illegal occupation powers in the northern part of Cyprus are methodically applying a long-term plan to eradicate the cultural and historical heritage of the occupied territories. This cultural genocide has been perpetrated largely by the Turkish army and Turkish nationals.

  • 500 Greek Orthodox churches and chapels have been pillaged, vandalised or demolished.
  • 77 churches have been converted into mosques.
  • 133 churches and monasteries have been desecrated.
  • 28 churches are used as depots, barracks or infirmaries by the Turkish occupation forces.
  • 13 churches are used as storage rooms or hay barns.
  • 1 church has been converted into a hotel.
  • 1 church has been rented out as an art school.
  • The cemeteries of at least 25 villages have been desecrated and destroyed.
  • Innumerable icons, religious artefacts and all kinds of archaeological treasures have been stolen and smuggled abroad.
  • Illegal excavations and smuggling of antiquities is openly taking place with the involvement of the occupying forces.

"...The vandalism and desecration are so methodical and so widespread that they amount to institutionalized obliteration of everything sacred to a Greek..."
J Fielding, 'The Rape of Northern Cyprus', Guardian (London), 6 May 1976

Greek place names in the occupied areas have been arbitrarily converted into Turkish names to perpetrate the myth that the occupied north is Turkish.

"...Points out that the cultural heritage of each people must be preserved and condemns the systematic policy of expunging the past and the Hellenic and Christian culture pursued by Turkey in the part of Cyprus occupied by its troops, as regards both the imposition of place names and the disappearance or transformation of the island’s cultural heritage..."
European Parliament, Resolution, 10 March 1988