Regarding the relationship between the Church and the occupiers

Archbishop Chrysostomos & Talip Atalay

14.04.2020 – As Union of Cypriots, we condemn the Church of Cyprus’ and the Archbishop’s pronouncement of an illegal Turkish settler as the “Mufti of Cyprus”. Our organisation would like to shed some light on the matter and inform all Cypriots about the scandalous relationship between Archbishop Chrysostomos II and Erdogan’s chosen one, Talip Atalay, a relationship dating back to almost a decade.

Talip Atalay, or as Archbishop Chrysostomos II likes to call him the “Mufti of Cyprus”, is a native of Turkey born in 1968 in Erdemli, a town and district of Mersin Province. A year after the Turkish invasion, in 1975, he and his family moved to Cyprus during a wave of mass illegal settlement of the Varosha neighbourhood in Famagusta. Atalay studied Theology in Turkey, since there was no such institution to offer the course in the occupied areas of Cyprus at the time. In 2015 he was put forward as a parliamentary candidate in the Turkish elections with Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party.

To this day he has been illegally occupying properties of Greek speaking Cypriots whilst at the same time he is granted, by exception, the right to move freely across the non-occupied areas of Cyprus. What is more, he enjoys a title that lends him authority and respectability in the international arena under the auspices of the Church of Cyprus and the ones who control the Cypriot State today.

Below we will try to outline some facts regarding the issue:

  • Turkish-speaking Cypriots are considered to be one of the most secular societies in the world, whose religious views reach the limits of anti-Islamic sentiments. Academic circles, including many researchers such as Doctor of Theology Fedon Papadopoulos, have repeatedly underlined the unique position of Turkish-speaking Cypriots, with special reference to their Crypto-Christian Linobambaki roots. (An article published on the Church of Cyprus website).
  • Turkish-speaking Cypriots have no interest or have rarely demonstrated an inclination of following any kind of university education in “theology”. As a result, Turkish authorities in the occupied areas had to “import” a number of hodjas from Turkey as no one in the Turkish-speaking Cypriot society would qualify or have the slightest interest in becoming a clergyman or a religious authority of any kind.
  • Turkish-speaking Cypriots reject any kind of religious authority, such as an “Archbishop” or a “Mufti. Even the pseudo-state (TRNC) is “constitutionally” secularist. The competent “Department of Religious Affairs” in the occupied area, acts as a management “office” for anything religious related and is instrumental for Turkey’s massive mosque building activities and meddling in the affairs of Turkish-speaking Cyprtiots through an ever increasing “illegal Turkish settlers”. Archbishop’s Mufti, Talip Atalay has been heading the “Department of Religious Affairs”, as an “appointed” officer of the Turkish occupying force since 2010.
  • We would like to underline that the information we provided regarding Talip Atalay is not secret, most of it is accessible publicly even in his personal resume.
  • In the light of this information, some burning questions arise that are waiting to be answered by the Church of Cyprus, the Archbishop and those who govern the Republic of Cyprus today.

    1. Under which law does the Church of Cyprus or the Archbishop can unilaterally pronounce an illegal Turkish settler as the “Mufti of Cyprus” or the “Mufti of Turkish-speaking Cypriots”?

    2. What right did the Church of Cyprus or the Archbishop exercise to pronounce someone as a Mufti, when even the Turkish-speaking Cypriots do not accept such a title or authority?

    3. How is it possible and who is responsible for allowing an illegal Turkish settler who is not a citizen of Republic of Cyprus and knowingly occupying properties of Greek-speaking Cypriots, to enter and move across all areas of the Republic for almost a decade?

    4. Do the people who control the Republic of Cyprus today also recognize this illegal settler as the “Mufti of Cyprus”, since he was portrayed by the Ministry of Education (booklets) in texts that are provided to students?

    The answers to these questions are unknown. What is becoming apparent though, is the fact that, Archbishop’s enterprising actions are introducing an extra layer of segregation between Turkish and Greek speaking Cypriots, religion. The Archbishop is breathing life into a non existent, fabricated divisive element of the Cypriot issue. Turkish-speaking Cypriots never asked for a mosque. Their lack of interest in religious matters is making the Archbishop even more flirtatious with the occupiers. A dangerous flirt which will cause more pain to Cypriots.

    As Union of Cypriots, we will continue our fights against any domestic and foreign powers instigating the segregation of the Cypriot nation and separation of the Cypriot state. We will continue our struggle for a unitary and secular Republic of Cyprus without foreign armies and illegal settlers.

    Respectfully announced to the public.

    Cyprus for Cypriots!
    Union of Cypriots