THE COUNCIL of Europe (CoE) has intervened to halt plans to turn an Armenian monastery in the occupied areas into a hotel, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris reported yesterday. In 1997, the occupation regime leased Saint Magar Monastery, at Halevka in the Kyrenia range, to a developer who wants to convert it into a tourism complex. But a strong reaction from the Armenian lobby at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has now made the occupation authorities think again, Kibris reported.
The CoE parliamentary assembly apparently invited the chairman of the occupation regime's 'assembly', Ertugrul Hasipoglu, to Strasbourg to discuss the fate of the Armenian monastery. The invitation came after a complaint about the planned monastery development was lodged by the Cyprus government, Kibris reported.
After the Strasbourg meeting, Hasipoglou said he had defended the occupation regime's right to use the Armenian Monastery as it saw fit. However, the lease of the monastery to businessman Dervish Sonmezler was cancelled, the paper reported.
The developer was quoted complaining that he was being kept in the dark.
The government has repeatedly complained to the CoE about the
destruction of Greek and Christian cultural heritage in the north.