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Sunday, April 2, 2023

Photo exhibition about Famagusta in Brussels by the Municipality of the occupied city

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A photo exhibition about Famagusta will be presented in Brussels by the Municipality of the occupied city, which organized a press conference on Monday morning at the Press and Information Office (GTP) in Nicosia. The photo exhibition is entitled “We are together for one homeland, for a common future” and is organized in Brussels from February 28 to March 3.

The Mayor of Famagusta, Simos Ioannou, said that the main purpose of the mission of the Municipality of Famagusta to Brussels, in the context of which the photo exhibition is being organized, is to promote the issue of Famagusta in the European Parliament (EC) and denounce Turkey's illegal actions in the enclosed area of ​​Famagusta, in the last three years. “We ask for the support of the EP and the European Union (EU), of which Cyprus is a member,” he added.

Mr. Ioannou said that the photo exhibition presents the life of Famagusta residents before 1974, the economic strength, culture and sports of Famagusta before the Turkish invasion but also the current state of the city.

He noted that the photographic material belongs to the photojournalist and cinematographer Tassos Dimitriadis and includes 48 double photographs of Famagusta's past and present, i.e. a total of 96 photographs. He also explained that the photos come from the area of ​​the city that the Turks opened as a tourist attraction. He clarified that the enclosed area constitutes 15% of Famagusta and that the photos were taken in the area corresponding to 2-3% of the enclosed area. 

The Mayor of Famagusta pointed out that the mission of the Municipality of Famagusta to Brussels resulted from the desire and emotion of the President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, who visited the Cultural Center of the Municipality of Famagusta in Deryneia in September 2022. The President of the European Parliament herself requested the organization of the event in Brussels, she will be present at the event and deliver a short speech, Mr. Ioannou added.

“Unfortunately, the event coincides with the unspeakable tragedy that has befallen Turkey and Syria. Among the victims were many children who lived in Famagusta”, underlined the Mayor of the occupied city, adding that “this tragedy is also our tragedy”.

He further noted that the Municipality of Famagusta from the first moment stood next to these people with financial help and letters of support to the mayor of the district of Famagusta. “We don't distinguish people's pain, for us the pain is the same”, he pointed out.

Furthermore, Mr. Ioannou said that the photo exhibition, which will last three days, is under the auspices of MEP George Georgios and has the support of the rest of the Cypriot MEPs. He added that the Permanent Delegation to the EU has been asked to have meetings with the Chairs of the political groups, the EP Foreign Affairs Commissioner, the Chairs of the Petition Committees, the Commissioners responsible for enlargement and other officials. “Some meetings have already been arranged and we hope to arrange others”, he added.

The Municipality mission, Mr. Ioannou continued, will also include two young people from Famagusta, Pieros Karoullas and Hakan Tsoban, who will present through an interactive dialogue the need for unity and cooperation as well as the thirst for solving the Cyprus problem and the return to our ancestral homes. “If the closed area of ​​Famagusta is opened under the auspices of the United Nations, it will be seen that the two communities can live together and progress, which bothers Erdogan,” he stressed.

The Mayor of Famagusta noted that the event will be opened by MEP Giorgos Georgiou and will be followed by the presentation of the two young people from Famagusta and a short speech by the Mayor of the city.

The event will be closed by Roberta Metsola. The event will be live streamed through the website of the Municipality of Famagusta and all announcements about the meetings held by the Municipality's mission in Brussels will be posted on the Municipality's Facebook page, added Mr. Ioannou, who thanked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Minister Ioannis Kasoulidis, “who responded and financially supported the event”.

In response to the question whether he expects a practical response from the European partners to the Municipality's effort, Mr. Ioannou said that “personally I expect any effort to add something to the great effort we are making”.

He noted that “the circumstances are such that we would not want a positive development to be associated with tragedies” and expressed the belief that “Turkey will put some water in its wine for now.” “I think it is the EU's opportunity to make an effort regarding the Cyprus issue and especially Famagusta”, he added. 

“As the newly elected President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nikos Christodoulidis, said, he will aim at the EU. We hope that we will put another stone in this effort,” said the Mayor of Famagusta.

“In the meetings we hold , our interlocutors are supportive and positive. Beyond that, you know how Turkey affects some situations in some countries”, he added and expressed the hope that “as a first step, the violation of the status quo in Famagusta will stop and there will be something positive in the Cyprus issue if Greek-Turkish relations improve”.  

Asked if the exhibition will be presented in other European capitals and listening to a proposal to present the exhibition in the schools of Cyprus, Mr. Ioannou explained that the cost is too high, adding that the Municipality is subsidized by the Ministries of Interior and Finance.

“Such a decision is not up to us,” he pointed out. He also mentioned that on April 1, some paintings from the occupied Famagusta Municipal Gallery will be exhibited in the Piraeus Municipal Gallery, which “is another effort of the Municipality of Famagusta”. “It would be good to have such an exhibition in other European capitals”, he indicated.

Finally, responding to the suggestion of the mayor of Famagusta that important monuments of the city have not been included in the photo exhibition, Mr. Ioannou said “let's not lose the forest for the trees”.

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Source: www.reporter.com.cy

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