EgyptAir flight MS804

Turkey unwilling to provide the security for Christians during church services

Christians living in northern Cyprus will only be allowed to attend church now once a year, either on Christmas or Easter.

Turkey, which controls the northern portion of the island, says the number of people attending services have grown and they simply cannot provide the necessary security to keep up with the demand.

Since 2013, Greek Cypriots have been flocking to towns and villages in the north to attend church services, but authorities now want to limit that.

Turkish troops have occupied the northern third of the island since 1974. It is known as the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus.

The area is only recognized internationally by Turkey. Greek-Cypriots are not allowed to live in the north, but Turkish-Cypriots both live and work in the south.

A so-called Green Line, or buffer zone, divides the Greek and Turkish sectors and those who want to cross need a passport.

The United Nations said it was "deeply concerned" that Christians now aren't allowed to attend church services in the north.

The U.N. envoy has expressed "deep concern" over a newly-imposed limit on worship in Orthodox Christian churches inside ethnically divided Cyprus' breakaway Turkish Cypriot north.

Espen Barth Eide said he has asked Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci to help "rectify" the new policy that reportedly limits worship in any church to once a year.

Eide, who is mediating ongoing reunification talks, said Thursday that the move runs "directly counter to the bi-communal spirit" that has been built up in recent years.

Armweeklynews [29.05.2016]
Turkey unwilling to provide the security for Christians during church services