Reactions against the demolition of Saint Thekla chapel in Vokolida and the construction of a mosque in Thermia continueReactions against the demolition of Saint Thekla chapel in occupied Vokolida area and the construction of a mosque next to the church of occupied Thermia village continue in the Turkish Cypriot press today (06.05.11).
Under the title “Disrespect to history”, daily Kibris publishes a picture of the chapel before its demolition and a picture of the place after the demolition. The paper reports that the chapel was not a monument, but its demolition is a crime. Hasan Tekel, responsible of the “antiquities and museums’ department” in occupied Famagusta area, told the paper that the eastern part of the chapel was the most sacred and special from architectural point of view. He said the church had not been seriously damaged after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974 and that no danger existed that it would collapse.
Referring to the issue, Resat Akar, director of Kibris Media Group, writes, inter alia, the following in his daily column in Kibris under the title “Respect to history and the humankind”: “We see what is happening in a country where no control exists. They destroyed Saint Thekla chapel, which had a 200-year long history, because they will create the Noah’s Ark [Tr. Note: A hotel that will be built in occupied Vokolida area]. When you have power, you can do everything in this country now?All patriots can celebrate now. We destroyed another historical monument of the Greek Cypriots. Could it be a biggest joy than this? ?
While we are referring to historical monuments, I want to pass to the issue of Thermia village. The muhtar [Tr. Note: headman] of the village conveyed to Evkaf [Religious Foundation] the request of the people of the village to have a mosque. The Foundation indicated a land as a response to this request. Go and build a mosque next to the church! If a day comes when the bell of the church starts to ring again, put four microphones to overbear it! For goodness sake, could such things happen? We left many mosques in the south. No one saw or heard that a church has been built next to any of them. Then, why we consider the others’ culture as having no importance?…”
Furthermore, daily Yeni Duzen (06.05.11) also publishes a picture of the Saint Thekla chapel before its demolition and another picture of the place after the demolition. The paper reports that archaeologist Tuncer Bagiskan, former “deputy director of the antiquities department”, has said that the demolition of the chapel “is closely related to the issue of Turkifying and Islamizing Cyprus”.
Finally, daily Havadis (06.05.11) reports that the demolition of Saint Thekla chapel has become an international problem and that the Greek Cypriots will carry the issue to Brussels. The paper publishes statements by Gurel Inan, coordinator of the Noah’s Ark Hotel, who said that they are ready to make up for the damage. He noted that they are considering of building a similar chapel