Lobby for Cyprus is a non-party-political human rights organisation campaigning for a reunited Cyprus.
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14 August 2007
Turkey's prevention of religious meeting shows its true face
"Although the meeting was to be a purely religious one, Turkey's denial of permission of the visit of the new Greek-Orthodox Archbishop of Cyprus, Chrysostomos, to Istanbul to meet with the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, shows once again how Turkey's anti-Cyprus policy manifests itself."

London--"Although the meeting was to be a purely religious one, Turkey's denial of permission of the visit of the new Greek-Orthodox Archbishop of Cyprus, Chrysostomos, to Istanbul to meet with the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, shows once again how Turkey's anti-Cyprus policy manifests itself," said Theo Theodorou, spokesman for Lobby for Cyprus.

The visit was set for August 17 through August 21.

This is the second time in four months that such a visit has been denied. The reason given for forbiding the earlier visit, scheduled for May, was that such a meeting between the two Greek Orthodox clerics "might have political consequences on the electoral campaign" that was to be held in July.

Accepting that “Turkey has the right to prevent anyone from entering into its territory," the Archbishop also added that "With this decision, however, the government in Ankara has shown its real face."

Echoing that statement, Theodorou said that "Turkey wants to show a democratic and liberal face, not only in Europe but also in the rest of the world, but it has become obvious that Turkey is blocking every attempt for a possible solution to the problem of a divided Cyprus." He said that there are no real differences between the Greek-Cypriot Christians and the Turkish-Cypriot Muslims, explaining that those living in the illegally-occupied north are increasingly availing themselves of the advantages offered by the Republic of Cyprus, such as jobs and Passports, identity papers, and other documents that permit them to benefit from the Republic's European Union membership.

Denied the opportunity to visit the Patriarch, the Archbishop said that "he would send a letter to the Holy See and the World Council of Churches to inform them of what has happened.� He added that "this way it will be possible to make the international community aware of the unreliability of the Turkish government in matters of rights.�

The Archbishop announced that he would meet the Ecumenical Patriarch at another time and place.

Lobby for Cyprus is a non-party-political organisation that seeks to unite the island with the removal of the 43,000-man Turkish army, the repatriation of the 160,000 Anatolian colonists imported into the north to change its demographics, and the return of all refugees to their homes.