Speaking to an international audience that included the President of Cyprus, Members of the British Parliament, MEPs and council leaders from across the world, Matthew told the annual Morphu Rally in Cyprus that those who had destroyed graves in Northern Cyprus “should be ashamed of themselves and Turkey (the occupying force) should share that shame as well”.
As part of the trip, Matthew crossed the Green Line and entered the occupied city of Morphu seized by Turkish forces in 1974. Since that time churches in the town have been looted of religious artifacts, graves smashed and turned into car parks and houses handed over to Turkish occupants.
Matthew said, “The destruction of the town, particularly the graves, was shameful. I was keen to enter the graveyards and look at the damage up close but part of the cemetery has been taken over by an army camp and we risked arrest if we did so. Since the military were unlikely to let me freely take pictures, I imagine that on some level they are ashamed – or at least a bit embarrassed – by what they have done.""
Photo caption: Matthew speaking at the Morphu Rally in Astromeritis village, Cyprus.