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Bi-communal booklet on cultural heritage offends South

29 October 2015

A booklet on Cyprus’ cultural heritage, showcasing work and restoration undertaken by the bi-communal Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage, has caused an uproar.

The UN and EU funded booklet has offended because towns and villages on the island are named both in Greek and Turkish.

Written in English, the booklet was compiled by both Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

Andreas Hadjiraftis, Chairman of the Permanent Committee for the Standardisation of Geographical Names wrote a stiff letter of complaint to the South’s Foreign Ministry saying that the booklet contains “illegal geographical location names in the occupied area like Buyukkonuk, Bahceli, Serhatkoy, Yayla, Gecitkale, Degirmenlik, Gazikoy, Demirhan, Camlibel and Pasakoy”.

He also goes on to say that “the names are illegal as they were imposed by military force in the occupied area of Cyprus” adding that they are “in violation of the Charter of the United Nations…”

Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides’ response, according to Greek Cypriot daily ‘Phileleftheros’, read that the state “was doing everything that was needed to ensure the Republic’s rights were not being violated in anyway.”

He also noted that such violations are punishable with up to three years in prison or a fine of 50,000 euros.

The cultural heritage study led to the subject contributing more actively to the ongoing Cyprus negotiations and confidence building measures. It gained support from the UNDP in 2009, after a request from the EU Commission.

The EU Commission has become a key partner to the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage and the UN Development Programme in putting the programme into effect since 2012.

Since 2012, the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage and the United Nations Development Programme have had the European Commission as key partner in implementing the Cultural Heritage programme.

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