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North Cyprus: Christian expatriate charged with illegally importing Christian literature into the region

This violation of religious freedom is not surprising in light of the continuous disregard (and worse) of the religious freedom of the Greek Cypriots in the so-called “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.” Since 1974, the occupation regime has been pursuing a policy of pillage, destruction and desecration of the cultural heritage of Cyprus; this has led to the destruction or desecration of more than 500 Greek Orthodox churches and chapels in the occupied areas of Cyprus and the illegal transfer of more than 60,000 ancient artifacts to third countries.

The Turkish occupation of Cyprus continues to violate the Third Vienna Agreement of August 1975, which is still the only agreement providing for the treatment of Greek Cypriots living in the occupied areas of Cyprus. The Order of Saint Andrew calls upon Turkey to fully respect the religious freedoms of the Greek Orthodox Christians who continue to live in the northern occupied part of Cyprus and urges the United States Government to condemn this unlawful occupation and work towards truly safeguarding the basic human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the religious freedom, of the Orthodox Christians who reside there.

For previous coverage of the persecution of Christians in occupied Cyprus, see here.

“Christian Expatriate Faces Charges in North Cyprus,” International Christian Concern, April 7, 2021:

04/07/2021 Turkey (International Christian Concern) – Christian expatriate Ryan Keating living in North Cyprus has been charged with illegally importing Christian literature into the region. On March 31 he went to the Iskele police station and was formally charged with illegal importation and operating a business without a license. Though released on bail, he faces large fines if he is convicted.

Keating’s travel is restricted while the case is ongoing, since January 2021. On January 27 his home and business were raided. His business doubled as a meeting place for a church and had its license revoked. The raid revealed Christian literature in Arabic and Farsi. The case is expected to last up to three years, during which time his passport remains in the hands of the police and will need to receive special permission to travel. His potential fines for the Christian materials are nearly ten times their value, with the fines nearing $72,000 USD.

Prior to living in North Cyprus, Keating lived in Turkey but was targeted for his Christian faith and activity. He faced deportation, a common tactic of Turkey to drive out Christianity and its threats to pan-Turkism….

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