The Association of Cypriot Archaeologists (ACA) in its capacity as a research association does not as a rule take a stand on political issues and does not endorse the positions expressed by any political party. However, due to the course that the public debate has followed on the issue of the Cyprus Theatre Organisation (THOC) performance at ancient Salamis, we the undersigned Regular Members of the ACA believe that we need to engage publicly in the debate, so as to voice our reservations, which in turn are related solely to the legal aspects of the issue.
It has recently been stated by the President of THOK Mr. Giannis Toumazi that the performance is under the auspices of the recently formed bi-communal Technical Committee for Culture, it is held under a specific framework of actions and forms part of the confidence building measures in the process of talks on the Cyprus issues. This sibyllic position is not considered an adequate answer, as there is no reference to the legal frame and the bureaucratic process for the organization of this events, nor to the bodies and state departments involved in its accomplishment. This absence of clarifications and the fact that the competent authority, namely the Department of Antiquities of the Republic of Cyprus, has not been asked to grant a permission to use a declared Ancient Monument, since the latter lies in an area not under the effective control of the Republic of Cyprus, we believe that there is a clear danger for creating a dangerous legal precedent that has the potential to allow in the future the granting of Ancient Monuments use permissions by the illegal Department of Antiquities and Museums of the illegal self-declared state in the occupied areas of the island.
The ACA’s position on all the ancient monuments of the island is that they are beacons of our collective historical memory, and bearers of universal values. As a result of the above, the use of ancient monuments should be consistent with their character, and their management should be carried out within a clear institutional and legal framework. As servants of humanities, we support every effort for the peaceful resolution of the Cyprus issue. Nevertheless, if the goal is for Salamis to become a persistent symbol of bi-communal peace, then the planned of the symbolic theatrical performance is a good start, but it is not sufficient. We need to address the deeper issues plaguing the site of Salamis and seek treatment for its long festering wounds.
The broader archaeological region of Salamis has since 1974 been surrendered to the mercy of weather conditions and time (e.g. the Roman baths, royal tombs, the Early Byzantine basilicas of Kampanopetra and Saint Epiphanios), it has been the victim of repeated looting (archaeological materials and documents storage rooms of the Department of Antiquities and the French Archaeological Mission), while since 1999 the University of Ankara in violation of international treaties has been illegally conducting broad scale archaeological research and excavations throughout the site. On the basis of this grim reality, we consider that complementarily to the theatrical performance, the confidence building measures should include the issue of protection and preservation of the monuments of the broader archaeological region of Salamis.
Press release signed by the following Regular Members:
|1. Violaris Giannis||9. Michael Rania||17. Anonymous||25. Anonymous|
|2. Demetriou Andreas||10. Panagides Panagiotis||18. Anonymous||26. Anonymous|
|3. Iakovides Michalis||11. Papanikolaou Katerina||19. Anonymous||27. Anonymous|
|4. Kaldeli Anthi||12. Perdiki Ourania||20. Anonymous|
|5. Kouali Margarita||13. Perdikis Stelios||21. Anonymous|
|6. Kosti Thomas||14. Poyiatzi-Richter Elena||22. Anonymous|
|7. Michael Maria||15. Prokopiou Elena||23. Anonymous|
|8. Michael Ksenia||16. Anonymous||24. Anonymous|
The Press Release is attached to the multimedia of the present post.