Press Release about Multiculturalism and Freedom of Expression

Press Release


“Organisations in Famagusta Take the Possession of Multiculturalism of their Town and Freedom of Expreessions!”

Famagusta is a city that boasts a lot of culture in its history. For this reason, the celebration of the Easter festival of Orthodox Christians, called the Holy Friday in the Church of the Agios Xerinos brings us all together in this multicultural mosaic. The organization of this ceremony, along with the group named “Famagusta Our Town”, should be seen as an expression of tolerance and hospitality, just as it has been for the past three years as a fascinating organization.

Celebrating common religious ceremonies can strengthen the sense of trust and cooperation between the two communities. Such activities, which are carried out by the participation of religious representatives of the two communities, have an impact not only on Cyprus but also on the world agenda. In this context, the ambassadors of various countries are visiting the city of Famagusta to honour the activity in spite of the negative situation created by the current political conditions.

As the organisations of Famagusta we realize that our well-intentioned steps in our city to make Easter Friday as an ordinary feast day of a Federal Cyprus are also being met by the Greek Cypriot leadership. So much so that the Greek Cypriot side allows the unconditional visits of the people who lived in Northern Cyprus to visit Hala Sultan Tekke on religiously important days for the Muslims.

However, the Easter celebration that we are aiming to reorganize will not be possible this year as the Northern Cyprus Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not allowed it. Considering that on the day of the Easter holiday, thousands of Greek Cypriots arrive in the city of Famagusta, providing a social and economic contribution to the region. Prohibitionist attitude shows that the government in the North is insensitive to the common will of living togeter. This understanding also harms the local shopkeepers.

In the report of the UN Committee on Cultural Rights, it was emphasized that the attitude of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Northern Cyprus is against the freedom of worship and human rights. In this respect, restricting freedom of worship damages the inter-communal reconciliation process as well.

In this period when intercommunal meetings are resuming, the attitude of the parties indicate that the mutual trust should be reinforced. In this respect, Turkish Cypriot legislators and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akıncı should step in on strengthening confidence after the Greek Cypriot parliament has corrected the decision on the relevant regulation on Enosis Celebration to be held in secondary schools. Urgency arrangements should be made to remove restrictions on the use of places of worship by the Greek Cypriot community by the Turkish Cypriot side.

Many of the scientific researches that have been put in place, by increasing the opportunities for contact between the two communities, are reducing prejudices and strengthening co-operation. Strengthening the freedom of the Greek Cypriots to worship in the north of Cyprus should also be assessed in this respect and acted in accordance with the creation of the federal Cyprus, where it confirms the support of all the parties represented in the Turkish Cypriot parliament.

In the light of all these evaluations, our demand as Famagusta organizations is to restore the limitations of religious worship as soon as possible. At the same time, the competent authority of the Greek Cypriots regarding the fundamental rights and freedoms of Cyprus in the north shall be included not only in the authority of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the TRNC but also in the TRNC Presidency. In this context, we call for legislators to take steps towards on this topic.

Famagusta Initiative, Famagusta Walled City Association, Famagusta Youth Center, Solidarity (Famagusta)