10/29/2013, 00.00
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Forced Islamization of northern Cyprus continues unabated

by NAT da Polis
Since the 1974 invasion, the 200 thousand Greek Cypriots forced to leave the area have been replaced by 300 thousand settlers from Anatolia, who lack education, but are devout Muslims. And even the original Turkish Cypriots are victims of discrimination at the hands of the Turkish occupiers and their settlers.

Istanbul (AsiaNews) - News of an exchange of visits between Metropolitan Christoforos of Karpasia and the Grand Mufti of Cyprus after 18 months has met with positive reactions worldwide.

But the good intentions and the good will of groups and individuals aside, the small but vital world of Greek and Turkish Cypriots remains divided 40 years (1974) after Turkey's invasion. The continued occupation by 40 thousand Turkish soldiers of the northern part of the island, accounting for 37 % of the territory, has also had serious consequence, such as the forced Islamization of the north.

Following the invasion by the Turkish Kemalist army - whose leader always described himself as a guarantor of secularism - 200 thousand Greek Cypriots were displaced to the south side of the island and 300 thousand of settlers from Anatolia with scarce education but devout Muslims settled in the north.

This forced Islamization has resulted in the destruction or conversion into mosques of dozens of monuments, churches and monasteries that attested to the continued presence of the ancient Greek -Hellenistic -Roman civilization, who embraced the message of Christ, founded the first churches after Palestine and created a bridge to the West.

Another very serious fact, as evidenced by the British historian and diplomat William Mallinson, who has a deep knowledge of the Cypriot universe, is that it all happened with the tacit consent of then U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and the British government. Kissinger's now renowned statement is an example of this, when he claimed that with the Turkish invasion of 1974 and the partition of the island, the Cyprus issue was resolved.

It is the classic, cynical statement of someone who believes in and supports the geo-political and geo-strategic interests of the usual so-called Western powers. And Cyprus has always wet their appetites because of its geographical location. In total disregard for its cultural traditions and its Christian roots.

Thus, in the meantime, Erdogan's neo- Ottoman party, the AKP , assisted by the Saudis is carrying forward, with meticulous expertise, the policy of forced Islamization of the northern part of the ' island. Furthermore, the ideologue of the dogma of neo-Ottoman foreign policy , Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, considers Cyprus an important player for Turkey's geopolitical games "even if there were no Muslims on the island" , let alone now .

Let us not neglect another fact , that even the original Turkish Cypriots are victims of discrimination at the hands of their Turkish occupants and settlers. Besides the fact that they have become the new minority (there are 150 thousand compared to 350 thousand settlers) they have deep rooted cultural differences with the settlers and military.

From their settlement on the island in 1572 , the long coexistence with the Christian community, despite periodic clashes (Christian populations in the Ottoman period served to fill the coffers of the empire , because only non-Muslims were taxed) fostered within their community a more open mindset and a deep respect for the religious beliefs of others. And if something Christian survives in the north of Cyprus is also thanks to them, as well as the 500 Greek Cypriots stranded in the region. Some refer to them as modern day crypto-Christians.

In short, what is happening in Cyprus, shows that , in spite of those who thought and still think the Greek roman and Christian roots of our civilization are important, what matters is the geopolitical strategy of the powerful of the earth. And Cyprus is only a hop, skip and jump from the Middle Eastern chessboard .


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