Cyprus: Attempted arson attack on mosque in Southern Cyprus condemned
By Handan Kazanci
ISTANBUL (AA): Turkey on Sunday condemned the Dec. 2 attempted arson attack on a mosque on the Greek side of the long-divided Cyprus island.
“We strongly condemn the arson attack against the Grand Mosque in Larnaca, the Greek Cypriot Administration of Southern Cyprus,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“As a recent instance of Islamophobia, this attack and similar actions do not only target Muslims, but also threaten the common values of humanity, and reveal how certain circles are far from the understanding of peaceful co-existence,” it added.
Earlier in the day, President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) Ersin Tatar also condemned the attempt to set the mosque on fire.
No casualty has been reported, with police arresting at least one suspect, according to a statement by the Religious Affairs Presidency of TRNC.
The island of Cyprus has been mired in a decades-long dispute between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, despite a series of diplomatic efforts by the UN to achieve a comprehensive settlement.
Ethnic attacks starting in the early 1960s forced Turkish Cypriots to withdraw into enclaves for their safety.
In 1974, a Greek Cypriot coup aimed at Greece’s annexation led to Turkey’s military intervention as a guarantor power to protect Turkish Cypriots from persecution and violence. The TRNC was founded in 1983.
[Map of Cyprus by United States Central Intelligence Agency, Public Domain]
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