200-year-old Greek Orthodox Chapel Demolished “By Accident” in Northern Cyprus
The 200-year-old Greek Orthodox Chapel of Saint Thekla in the village of Vokolida, Cyprus was demolished, allegedly by accident. The demolition was condemned publicly by the Turkish Cypriot authorities and two individuals were arrested for destroying the church and a promise was made to rebuild it. Nevertheless, due to several reasons, this has not yet been performed.
“Local Turkish Cypriot authorities have generally failed to take adequate measures to protect religious places of worship from vandals and looters.” said USCIRF Chair, Leonard Leo. “Allowing the demolition of the Saint Thekla chapel exemplifies the ongoing disrespect and violations by Turkish troops and local Turkish Cypriot authorities for the religious freedom and heritage of Greek Orthodox and other religious minority communities in the northern part of Cyprus,” continued Mr. Leo.