Arson attack staged on mosque in Greek Cyprus, leaders condemn assault
NICOSIA – Anadolu Agency
CİHAN photoThe historic Denya Mosque in Greek Cyprus has been attacked by arsonists and completely destroyed, while the two leaders on the divided island have condemned the attack.
Unknown assailants staged an arson attack on an historic mosque located in the Denya area inside the territories of the Greek Cypriot administration.
The fire started on the wooden roof of the structure before completely destroying the building.
Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akıncı and his Greek Cypriot counterpart, Nicos Anastasiades, issued separate statements condemning the attack.
Akıncı said he was saddened to hear of the arson attack on the Denya Mosque, adding the attack was not only carried out against Muslims but also against all humanity.
“The people who have done this have also committed crimes against humanity and should be punished in the harshest way,” said Akıncı. “It is open that the ones who have conducted this attack do not want Cyprus to reach a future in peace and serenity.”
Akıncı said the renovation of the mosque under the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage in Cyprus had been finalized in December 2014 after it was attacked in January 2013.
Anastasiades also condemned the attack, adding that such attacks damaged the initiatives to reunite the island.
Cyprus was divided into Turkish and Greek Cyprus in 1974 when Turkey intervened on the island in response to a coup aimed at uniting the island with Greece."
Since then, Cyprus has been divided between the Turkish and Greek communities on the island, while a U.N.-brokered peace talks were re-launched in May 2015.