Cyprus News on Meeting between Head of Religious Affairs of North Cyprus and Archbishop in South Cyprus cancelled.
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Meeting between Head of Religious Affairs of North Cyprus and Archbishop in South Cyprus cancelled

Source: BRT  
08 January 2007

The meeting scheduled to take place between the Head of the Religious Affairs Department Ahmet Yonluer and the head of the Greek Cypriot Orthodox Church Archbishop Chrysostomos has been cancelled.

Mr Yonluer told the TAK news agency this morning that the meeting was cancelled because of the Archbishop’s statements, which he said, are undermining peace and interreligious dialogue.

The two religious leaders were scheduled to meet in South Cyprus today and Archbishop Chrysostomos was to pay a return-visit to Mr Yonluer two weeks later.

The two religious leaders were also to visit the Hala Sultan Tekke in Larnaca today.

Mr Yonluer issued a statement explaining the reasons behind the decision to cancel the meeting.

He said that although agreement had been reached on the method to be used during the crossing of the two religious men through the gates between the two sides, the Archbishop’s insistence to keep this issue on the agenda in a way offending the Turkish Cypriot Side led to the cancellation of the meeting.

Mr Yonluer said that the decision was taken in reaction to Archbishop’s words about the crossings between the two sides and his attempts to change the objective of the meeting.

He said that the Archbishop’s insistence to continue issuing statements, like a politician and not as a religious leader, led to the cancellation of the meeting and expressed the belief that his statements will make it impossible to carry out such a meeting in future with the aim of establishing interreligious dialogue between the two religions in Cyprus.

`It is very hard for us to understand the reason behind the Archbishop’s insistence to make the issue of churches in North Cyprus as the main topic of our discussions in spite of the fact that I had already made it clear that the Department of Antiquities and Museums is the authorized body in the TRNC on the issue` he said.

Explaining that the aim of today’s meeting was to start interreligious dialogue and to launch an initiative with the aim of contributing peace on the island, he said that it is worrying to see that the Archbishop has been ignoring this fact.

Stressing that religious leaders should be more tolerant and should work on ways of reflecting this tolerance to their communities, he said it is very saddening to see that Mr Chrysostomos has been inciting hatred among the people in stead of spreading tolerance.

Calling on the Archbishop to review its position on the issue and to adopt a more constructive approach towards starting interreligious dialogue, Mr Yonluer reiterated his readiness to meet with everyone in every circumstance on the basis of mutual understanding to give messages in support of peace and friendship.

Earlier, Archbishop Chrysostomos issued a statement saying that he was going to ask the hand over of religious places in the North to the Greek Cypriot Side and made comments on the Cyprus issue and the Turkish troops.

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