Target:
Biblical Archaeology Society
Region:
GLOBAL

We are writing concerning the trip that you organize to Turkey and then Cyprus (June 1-15, 2012), entitled “Sailing with Paul in the Mediterranean”.

It appears from the documentation that we have seen that you may not be aware of certain facts that are important to bring to your attention. The reference to “Northern Cyprus” constitutes, in fact, the area of Cyprus under Turkish military occupation since 1974. It is recalled that the secessionist entity in the occupied areas of Cyprus was condemned by the United Nations Security Council, in its resolutions 541 (1983) and 550 (1984), as “legally invalid” and is not recognized by any international organization or country, other than Turkey which is the occupying power.

Furthermore, we wish to respectfully bring to your attention that the airport through which you intend to arrive in Cyprus has been declared by the Government of the Republic of Cyprus as an illegal point of entry into and exit from the Republic. The legal points of entry into the Republic of Cyprus to which visitors should use are Larnaka and Paphos airports and the ports of Larnaka and Lemesos.

Moreover, this illegal airport is not recognized by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and its illegal operation causes serious risks to flight safety in the region.

It is also important to stress that this illegal airport is located on property belonging to a significant number of Greek Cypriot refugees who were forcibly expelled from the property by the invasion forces in 1974.

These refugees remain the legal owners of their properties, as it has been confirmed by numerous relevant Judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, and have not consented to the construction of the illegal airport.

Furthermore, the organization of such a trip by an archaeological society is particularly offensive to the local and international community of archaeologists working in Cyprus, due to the destructive consequences that the Turkish occupation has caused to the tangible and intangible cultural heritage of the island.

In the occupied area, archaeological sites and monuments, including churches, have suffered severe destruction and violation, museums have been looted and destroyed, and antiquities continue to be illegally exported.


We wish to express our opposition and disappointment with the planned trip to the occupied areas.

We sincerely hope that with the explanations outlined in this letter you will reconsider your planned visit to the occupied areas and arrival into Cyprus through the illegal ports of entry.

We also hope that you will show greater sensitivity toward issues that have such legal and ethical ramifications.

If your decision is still to proceed with your visit, we would ask that you enter the island through the international and recognized airports of the Republic of Cyprus.
Petition tags: , , , ,