Greek Cypriot Church Taking Turkey to Court

NICOSIA, Cyprus (Reuters)–A Greek Cypriot Orthodox Church said Thursday that it would launch legal action against Turkey for destroying hundreds of churches in the north of the divided island.

The church said it was preparing its case to take Turkey to the European Court of Human Rights over the destruction of 522 places of worship on the northern side of Cyprus, Reuters reported.

"This is necessary since Turkey consciously continues to destroy the churches of our island," Reuters quoted the church as saying in a statement.

Cyprus was split in 1974 when the Turkish army invaded the Greek Island, occupying its northern half and installing a Turkish government that forced Greek Cypriots to withdraw into the south.

Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat and his Greek Cypriot counterpart Demetris Christofias have been engaged in reunification talks since last September. In January they agreed to set up an advisory body for the preservation and restoration of the island’s cultural heritage.

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