Jim Karygiannis, a Member of Parliament for Scarborough-Agincourt and Liberal Critic for Multiculturalism, and Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, a Member of European Parliament from Germany, met with the Secretariat for Culture of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Paris to present a petition complaining about the destruction of religious and cultural monuments in the occupied territory of Cyprus by Turkey.
“The destruction of cultural heritage in the occupied territory of northern Cyprus should be stopped and if not, sanctions should be implemented by the United Nations.” Karygiannis commented.
Karygiannis created the Petition in regards to the destruction, in 2009, of religious and cultural monuments in the northern occupied territory of the Republic of Cyprus by Turkey. Tens of thousands of signatures have been collected from all over the world on the website – www.cyprusculturaldestruction.com.
“The talks were promising.” said Karygiannis. “UNESCO is willing to co-operate with the Cypriot Government and Parliamentarians from around the world, provided that the United Nations Security Council gives permission for intervention to UNESCO to resolve this on-going problem.”
The destruction of cultural property and the repatriation of the refugees to the northern part of Cyprus are issues that have been debated since the Turkish occupation in 1974.
“This petition has shown UNESCO that the destruction of cultural heritage in occupied Cyprus can no longer be tolerated,” added Chatzimarkakis. “It is high time the parties involved showed each other the respect they and their heritage deserves.” Karygiannis has been working on the Cyprus Issue since he was first elected in 1988. He has visited Cyprus on many occasions.