References have been made by officials of the relevant authorities that the government is seriously considering transferring the Department of Antiquities to the Ministry of Education and Culture, seemingly in the direction of downgrading the importance which the state attaches to the Department of Antiquities. These statements follow recent statements made by DISY President Averof Neophytou that the Department of Antiquity’s competences could be shared between the constituent states and not fall under and be subject to the central federal government.

According to all that has applied to date, in the event of a possible solution the competences regarding the cultural heritage of Cyprus would fall under the central federal government, a fact which is also reflected in the Christofias-Talat convergences too. So what lies behind the actions on an issue that was considered closed and agreed?

We recall that the competences and ownership of antiquities were put under the responsibility of the state as early as 1935, with the Antiquities Act on the decision of the then colonial administration. The Republic of Cyprus, since its establishment in 1960, through its own Antiquities Act, adopted the fundamental principle that the competences and ownership of antiquities belong to the state and that is still the case today. Given that since 1960 Education is not a unified system for the citizens of the Republic of Cyprus, but is shared between the two communities, it is extremely important for the survival of the Federal Republic of Cyprus that antiquities remain under the responsibility of the federal government.

For decades, the ruling forces – who cultivated nationalist concepts that were invoking Cyprus’ history and civilization – do not hesitate to divide up the cultural heritage of the country to the two constituent states. The blatant contradictions and inconsistencies of the government and ruling forces regarding the History, but also the future of Cyprus no longer provoke any surprise whatsoever.

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