It has come to our knowledge that in its session of 26 June 2014 the Committee on Foreign
Affairs of the US House of Representatives adopted by majority vote a draft bill pertaining to Christian Cultural Heritage in Turkey and North Cyprus.
The draft bill containing groundless allegations in its general framework along with baseless accusations within its content renders the approach of the Committee in question as unacceptable.
As we have previously underlined on numerous occasions, inhabitants of our country of Greek, Maronite and Armenian origin along with those belonging to other beliefs are able to freely practice their religious duties. Furthermore, on account of the significance attributed to religious rights and freedoms of all beliefs, following the adoption of certain measures, in 2014 there has been a considerable increase in the amount of mass religious services carried out in addition to routine religious services during which worshippers were able to fulfil the duties of their faith.
We deem it useful to underline once again that, contrary to the allegations present in the bill in question, our authorities, without discrimination of any kind, and with the understanding that the historical and cultural heritage of our country is the common heritage of humanity, take all necessary measures and precautions for their protection. The fact that in the year 2013 the restoration of 3 churches were completed and the restoration of 10 other churches are ongoing is a clear indication of the significance attributed to the protection of religious and cultural heritage.
It ought to be reminded that, restoration works scheduled to commence at the Apostolos Andreas Monastery within the framework of the Cultural Heritage Committee which has been functioning on the Island since 2008 under the UN framework, gained acceleration with the constructive initiative taken by the Turkish side.
It is most striking to see that the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs which appears to be sensitive towards the protection of cultural heritage and religious freedoms remains indifferent to the fact that no serious action is being taken to restore the already destroyed Muslim/Turkish cultural heritage present on the South of the Island.
We expect that no further support is accorded in the following stages to the draft bill by the USA Congress which contains information contradicting the realities of the Island, and hope that the draft bill does not cause harm to the ongoing UN led negotiation process.
1 July 2014,