Illegal Lease Of Armenian Church In Occupied Cyprus Revoked


15:05 07.02.2013

Officials at Near East University in Occupied Cyprus announced that
they were backtracking from the illegal lease of the historic 14th St.
Mary’s Church and Monastery after protests from the US, Asbarez
reports quoting the Milliyet newspaper.

The 10-year lease, which was unfairly granted by an organization
for religious foundations in Occupied Cyprus to Near East University
was criticized by the United States and United Nations Development
Program-Action for Cooperation and Trust (UNDP-ACT), which had funded
the restoration of the Armenian Church.

When the leader of Occupied Cyrprus Dervish Eroglu attended the UN
General Assembly, he was pressed for an immediate resolution of the
matter, with UN officials stressing that the lease went counter to
the intent of the project.

The US Ambassador to Cyprus John Koenig also urged leaders of Occupied
Cyprus to immediately remedy the situation saying that it would be
wrong to turn the Armenian Monastery Complex into a Turkish studies

In November, Vartkes Mahdessian, the Armenian representative in
parliament, said such a move goes against the project’s original

“The objective was to have a multi-communal area where communities
could come together and for the church to be used as a place of
worship by the Armenian community,” he said yesterday.

UNDP-ACT echoed Mahdessian’s concerns in a news release at the time.

Stakeholders worked “to restore the site to international standards
so that it could encourage peace and reconciliation between all of
the communities in Cyprus,” said the statement from UNDP-ACT and the
United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Although UNDP-ACT and USAID did not name the tender winner, they
recently said that they learned that “the site had been leased by
EVKAF through a tender process that was neither fair nor transparent.”

“We have expressed our serious concerns to EVKAF about this
unacceptable result,” the news release said.

The St. Asdvadzasin Church complex includes historic buildings
partially surrounded by a tall masonry wall and including a Gothic
masonry church and part of a monastery complex. It was in poor
condition when the decision to fix it was taken.

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