While most of the world decries the “occupation” of the West Bank and Golan Heights in Israel, very few say a thing about the occupation of Cyprus by Turkey. Comparing the two is taboo in western media because the atrocities committed by Turkey are far worse than anything Israel has done to Palestinians.
Brave Turkish journalist Uzay Bulut is one of the few voices calling for the west to hold Turkey’s feet to the fire regarding the Cypriot occupation. With over 550 Greek Orthodox churches, chapels, and monasteries pillaged, vandalized, or even demolished, it’s almost too obvious that the world should speak out against it.
Very few are.
Uzay pointed out the hypocrisy in an article from the Gatestone Institute:
A 2017 article for Artnet detailing atrocities committed by the Islamic State (ISIS) against relics in museums, mosques, churches and archaeological sites in Syria and Iraq, says that “UNESCO considers the intentional destruction of cultural heritage a war crime.”
Meanwhile, Turkey — which has been committing the intentional destruction of occupied Cyprus’s cultural heritage for more than four decades — remains a member of NATO and a candidate for membership in the European Union. This is a situation that the West must force Turkey to address — and not only when an individual piece of looted art, such as the mosaic of Saint Mark, happens to be rescued.
Bulut puts her own life at risk. Based in Ankara, the journalist is in the middle of a nation known for silencing media voices that criticize the government. She needs others to step up and help her spread the word.