Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Epiphany celebrations in Agia Triada and Yialousa

Above is a RIK news report on yesterday’s Epiphany celebrations that took place for the first time since the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in Agia Triada and Yialousa in the Turkish-occupied Karpasia peninsular of the island.

Agia Triada, as I’ve written before, is a satellite village or suburb of Yialousa, and is home to some 100 Greek Cypriots who’ve been enclaved since the Turkish invasion, while Yialousa has been ethnically cleansed of its 3000 Greek Cypriot inhabitants and replaced by Turkish Cypriots from the Tylliria area of western Cyprus.

As far as I’m aware the Turkish occupation regime did not allow any other Epiphany celebrations in the areas it controls and the permission granted for the services held at Yialousa/Agia Triada should not be seen as a goodwill gesture from the Turkish side. Rather, it is an attempt to assert Turkish Cypriot ‘sovereignty’ in occupied Cyprus; turn Greek Cypriots forced from occupied Cyprus in 1974 into tourists; and kid the international community into believing that Turkey respects religious and cultural freedoms. (A similar game is played with Pontian Greeks who are allowed to hold a religious service once a year at the Monastery of Panayias Sumela, near Trapezounta). Nevertheless, despite being aware of the tactics of the Turkish occupation authorities, many Greek Cypriots insist on taking part in these pilgrimages as a means to show the Turkish side that they have not forgotten the homes, villages and churches they were forced to abandon in 1974 and, even after four decades, they still expect to return to them on a permanent basis.

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