Saturday, 26 March 2011

Turks charge entrance fee to visit Monastery of Apostolos Andreas

Above is a report (with English subtitles) from yesterday’s RIK evening news on the imposition by the occupation regime of an entrance fee for those wishing to visit Cyprus’ foremost religious shrine, the Monastery of Apostolos Andreas, located at the tip of the Karpasia pensinular, which has been occupied by Turkey since 1974.

The Turks are saying the money raised from the one euro ticket will be put towards protecting Karpasia’s wild donkeys. Of course, the move is spiteful, intended to humiliate believers and, indeed, discourage them from visiting the shrine, which the Turks are deliberately allowing to crumble.

For those who don’t know, there are a couple of hundred Greeks who still live in the occupied areas – in the Karpasia villages of Agia Triada and Rizokarpaso. Also, since 2003, when the Turks made it easier for Greeks to cross over into the occupied areas, some do so in order to visit homes, churches and so on. Since the pilgrimage to Apostolos Andreas was always the most popular of its type for Cypriots before 1974, many believers have tried to revive the tradition, a fact that is obviously not to the liking of the occupation regime since it is a reminder to them of the Greekness of Cyprus, all of Cyprus.


Hermes said...

Some great footage of the Greek Independence Day celebrations from Larnaca:

John Akritas said...

Our communist government won't like all those Greek flags and all that blue and white bunting. Too bad.

Anonymous said...

These theives have the cheek (although I'm in no way surprised) to spin us some bs about 'protecting wild donkeys' to cover up their hostile, evil intentions. I especially feel for the enclaved there who aren't even free to express their Faith and Love for Apostolos Andreas, someone who they look to and is a source of Hope; and especially in light of the fact - as you say - it's such a revered holy site. Just a disgusting situation all-around. In any case, the wild donkeys are being occupied too as of now- they don't want your stinking 'protection.'

Elsewhere, is it just me, or is this something totally odd. Apparently, Cyprus FM, Markos Kyprianou, is due to visit al-Assad in Syria on Monday. I'm failing to make sense of any of it.

John Akritas said...

Anon: you know the story of the donkeys is that a wild population of them developed after they were abandoned by their owners following the Turkish invasion and the ethnic cleansing of Karpasia.

I think Markos had been planning to go to Syria for a while – our relations with our Syrian 'friends' has nosedived recently as they've got closer to the Turks and we're climbing into bed with the Israelis. I don't think the visit's connected to the unrest in Syria.

Anonymous said...

I just find it strange because last time I looked, Syria's up in smoke and they are basically on the brink of civil war. Why are we getting involved in any way with Assad and the Syrian government now (unless, there's some vitally important reason I'm not aware of)? As I said, maybe I've just misread the situation.

And thanks for the info on the Donkeys- I didn't know that- just makes my comment about them being illegally occupied too, all the more pertinent. Just from quickly reading up on them, they seem to be a real pest to those living in the illegaly occupied, ethnically cleansed areas. They've shot some down, and the ''Mayor of Dipkarpaz'' apparently even said they should be 'forcibly sterlisied or sent to Turkey' (

By the way, can I ask one quick question: Could Agrino be found in the Northern parts of Cyprus in recent times (i.e 1950)?

Oh and thanks for taking the time to upload and translate that RIK piece. I'm trying to work on my Greek- your translation helped.

John Akritas said...

The Cypriot government is concerned that Syria, which has been seriously cosying up to Turkey recently and doesn't like the developing Greece/Israel/Cyprus axis, doesn't go any further with its relations with the pseudo-state – it's already operating a ferry link from Latakia to occupied Famagusta – or work against Cyprus in Islamic organisations. Cyprus also needs to work out its EEZ with Syria, which is no doubt being pressurised by Turkey not to do this.

Yes, it seems the Turks even resent the presence of donkeys in the occupied areas; must remind them of the society that existed in Karpasia before they arrived in the peninsula.

Agrino? You mean those wild sheep? Are they different to moufflon? Don't know if they were about in northern Cyprus. I thought they were in Troodos.

Anonymous said...

Agrino/wild sheep/moufflon- same thing I think. I know they're only to be found in Troodos now, but I was just wondering if they could be found in northern parts too even as late as the 1950s. Or were they always confined to Troodos? No big deal, the question just randomly popped into my head at the time.

Fair enough, I know we have our political concerns- I'm just thinking it's an inopportune time. The impression I got was that he and his government are about to fall; and by the time Kyprianou gets there, and while he's there, more protesters are likely going to be killed etc. Doesn't exactly look good on us later on. I don't know, maybe I'm overthinking- you know more about these things than me but shouldn't we just wait it out?

(warning: some disturbing footage)

Anonymous said...

Right then, in retaliation let's make them pay a fee to enter the mosque on the salt lake in Larnaca - let's see how that would go down with them.

I can guarantee you there would be uproar from every international agency and commission or whatever on the island. These people (the turks) are unbelievable, I cant't get my head round them. How would we ever be able to share the island with them - we wouldn't be able to.

It's a very tricky situation we're in and we actually can't win - it's very depressing.


John Akritas said...

Michael: there is no chance we will retaliate, though like you I wish we would by doing something to their mosque in Larnaca, a mosque it's worth remembering we spent hundreds of thousands of pounds restoring as part of an agreement that they would restore Apostolos Andreas, an agreement, of course, the Turks have never honoured.

The only way to get our heads round the Turks is to realise that they are not like us. Assuming that all cultures and nations are capable of the same moral and rational behaviour is part of our delusion as Europeans. Europeans are trained to see the other's point of view, consider their own deficiencies and the possibility that they might be wrong. This does not apply to the Turks. They do not believe themselves capable of wrongdoing or injustice. They are devoid of conscience. They are our antithesis. This belief we have that we can civilise them is completely misplaced; it's another European folly, to believe that our culture is so desirable that you'd have to be mad to resist it. Well, the Turks are mad. They have their own way of doing things. Erdogan said it himself recently: what we want from Europe is your technology, not your morality.

And, yes, it is depressing. My view is that northern Cyprus is lost and that the task of the Greeks on the island is to hold on to what we have, make sure we don't lose that too.

Hermes said...

This is an interesting question asked by the Macedonian blog, Are the Parthenon Sculptures Safe in London anymore?