NewsLocalArchbishop Georgios: Nothing separates us from the Turkish people

Archbishop Georgios: Nothing separates us from the Turkish people

“There is nothing separating us from the Turkish people,” said Cyprus’ Archbishop Georgios in an interview with CNN Türk.

The island’s recently-enthroned Archbishop visited the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul and gave a planned interview as part of his trip.

As he said, the visit coincided with the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria, as well as the deadly rail disaster in Greece.

“During these tragic days, we prayed together for all those who died in the earthquake in Turkey and the train accident in Greece,” the Archbishop said.

“These tragedies unite us all in the pain. They are proof that nothing can separate us,” he added.

The Archbishop also expressed his sorrow for the Turkish Cypriots who lost their lives in Adiyaman when the hotel they had been staying in collapsed during the earthquake.

“Our people (Greek Cypriots) always lived in harmony and solidarity with the Turkish Cypriots. Communication between our grandparents was amicable. We wish for this to continue,” he commented.

“On the one hand, great disasters cause great pain, but on the other hand, they contribute towards bringing people together, regardless of religion, language or race or if they are poor or rich,” he noted.

Asked to comment on increasing tensions in the Aegean and the Mediterranean, he answered that “there are times when tensions are high on both sides, but our expectation is to find mutual understanding. We want relations to be based on law and human rights. These are European values, and we must protect them.”

“In our stay here (in Turkey),” the Archbishop added, “we realised that there is nothing separating us from the Turkish people.”

Concluding his interview, Georgios sent out an appeal for peace on the island and called for a resumption of talks to solve the Cyprus problem.

“We wish to find harmony on our lands, and we are doing our utmost to ensure our survival and that we continue to have good relations with our neighbours.”

George III of Cyprus was enthroned Archbishop in January.

He was elected by the Holy Synod, with 11 votes in favour out of 16, succeeding Chrysostomos II who passed away after a long battle with cancer.

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