In the summer of 1974 Turkey launched a two-phased invasion of the Republic of Cyprus, using U.S.-supplied arms and equipment to grab nearly 40 percent of Cyprus’s sovereign territory and force 170,000 Greek Cypriots from their homes and property.
Under the Turkish occupation of northern Cyprus, religious sites have been systematically destroyed and a large number of religious and archaeological objects illegally looted, exported, and subsequently sold or traded in international art markets, including an estimated 16,000 icons, mosaics, and mural decorations stripped from most of the churches, and 60,000 archaeological items dating from the 6th to 20th centuries.
These unfortunate facts are confirmed by experts who have provided testimony to the U.S. Helsinki Commission, which held a hearing titled ‘‘Cyprus’ Religious Cultural Heritage in Peril’’ in 2009. In addition, a Law Library of Congress Report titled “‘Destruction of Cultural Property in the Northern Part of Cyprus and Violations of International Law’’ details what obligations the government of Turkey has as the occupying power in northern Cyprus for the destruction of religious and cultural property there under international law.
As a result, U.S. Representative Gus Bilirakis (R-9-FL) has introduced a House resolution, H.Res.1631, that calls for the protection of religious sites and artifacts from and in Turkish -occupied areas of northern Cyprus as well as for general respect for religious freedom.
Time is of the essence as Congress is winding down its current session!
We urge you to contact your U.S. representative and ask him or her to co-sponsor H.Res.1631.
RESOURCE: HOUSE COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS LIST
Reminder: Of the 25 co-sponsors that are needed, 10 of them must be a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. If your U.S. representative is a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee it is especially important that you contact him/her.
CONTACT BY TELEPHONE
Contact your members of Congress by telephone by dialing the U.S. Capitol switchboard at 202.224-3121.
CONTACT BY EMAIL/INTERNET
For further information or questions, please contact AHI, (202) 785-8430, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.THANK YOU!