Friday, June 8, 2012

Cancel the "Sailing with Paul" tour of the Biblical Archaeology Society

We are writing concerning the trip that you organize to Turkey and then Cyprus (June 1-15, 2012), entitled “Sailing with Paul in the Mediterranean”.
 It appears from the documentation that we have seen that you may not be aware of certain facts that are important to bring to your attention. The reference to “Northern Cyprus” constitutes, in fact, the area of Cyprus under Turkish military occupation since 1974. It is recalled that the secessionist entity in the occupied areas of Cyprus was condemned by the United Nations Security Council, in its resolutions 541 (1983) and 550 (1984), as “legally invalid” and is not recognized by any international organization or country, other than Turkey which is the occupying power.

Furthermore, we wish to respectfully bring to your attention that the airport through which you intend to arrive in Cyprus has been declared by the Government of the Republic of Cyprus as an illegal point of entry into and exit from the Republic. The legal points of entry into the Republic of Cyprus to which visitors should use are Larnaka and Paphos airports and the ports of Larnaka and Lemesos.

Moreover, this illegal airport is not recognized by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and its illegal operation causes serious risks to flight safety in the region.

It is also important to stress that this illegal airport is located on property belonging to a significant number of Greek Cypriot refugees who were forcibly expelled from the property by the invasion forces in 1974.
These refugees remain the legal owners of their properties, as it has been confirmed by numerous relevant Judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, and have not consented to the construction of the illegal airport.

Furthermore, the organization of such a trip by an archaeological society is particularly offensive to the local and international community of archaeologists working in Cyprus, due to the destructive consequences that the Turkish occupation has caused to the tangible and intangible cultural heritage of the island.
In the occupied area, archaeological sites and monuments, including churches, have suffered severe destruction and violation, museums have been looted and destroyed, and antiquities continue to be illegally exported.
We wish to express our opposition and disappointment with the planned trip to the occupied areas. We sincerely hope that with the explanations outlined in this letter you will reconsider your planned visit to the occupied areas and arrival into Cyprus through the illegal ports of entry.
We also hope that you will show greater sensitivity toward issues that have such legal and ethical ramifications.

If your decision is still to proceed with your visit, we would ask that you enter the island through the international and recognized airports of the Republic of Cyprus.
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The Biblical Archeology Society (BAS) supports a travel program that will enter the Republic of Cyprus via illegal ports of entry located in the illegally Turkish-occupied territory of the Republic of Cyprus. The specific travel program in question is “Sailing with Paul in the Mediterranean” which takes place June 1-15, 2012.  The tour will travel from Antalya Airport in Turkey to the Turkish-occupied territory of the Republic of Cyprus, continue its route to the areas under the control of the Government of Cyprus, and return back to the occupied territory before departing for Turkey.
The legal ports of entry into the Republic of Cyprus are the airports of Larnaca and Paphos and the ports of Larnaca, Limassol, Latsi and Paphos, which are situated in the area under the effective control of the Government of the Republic of Cyprus.
To date, BAS continues to support the travel program “Sailing with Paul in the Mediterranean” and its current travel itinerary which has the tour entering the Republic of Cyprus via illegal ports of entry.
We urge you to contact Mr. Hershel Shanks, founder, Biblical Archeology Society, to convey the severe effects that this kind of illegal activity can bring to the overriding goal of reunification and respect of international law.

Place a concise and courteous phone call to BAS Founder Hershel Shanks at 202-364-3300 utilizing the talking points listed below.
Mr. Hershel Shanks
Biblical Archaeology Society
4710 41st Street NW
Washington, DC 20016
FAX: 202-364-2636
  • Cyprus has been illegally divided and occupied since 1974 when Turkey invaded the island in violation of international law, including the U.N. Charter.
  • The invasion and continuing occupation of 37% of the northern part of Cyprus’ sovereign territory by a force of 43,000 Turkish troops has resulted in:
    • the mass violation of the human rights of the Cypriot people;
    • the forcible expulsion of approximately 200,000 Greek Cypriots from their homes; massive colonization through the illegal implantation of more than 300,000 Turkish mainland settlers in the occupied areas of Cyprus;
    • trespassing and illegal exploitation of property belonging to Greek Cypriot refugees;
    • cultural destruction and religious desecration;
    • suffering of a great number of families whose relatives remain missing since 1974 and whose fate is still unknown; and
    • forcible ethnic segregation and division of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities.
  • No country other than Turkey recognizes the so-called illegal “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.”
  • A trip conducted in this illegal manner undermines the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus and disrespects international law and relevant UN Resolutions instead of highlighting the archaeological significance of the region.
  • The legal ports of entry into the Republic of Cyprus are the airports of Larnaca and Paphos and the ports of Larnaca, Limassol, Latsi and Paphos, which are situated in the area under the effective control of the Government of the Republic of Cyprus.
  • The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) designated Turkey a “country of particular concern” in its 2012 annual report due in part to the restriction of religious freedom and religious and cultural destruction that has occurred in Turkish-occupied Cyprus.
  • An estimated 500 churches and religious sites belonging to Christian and Jewish communities have been desecrated, pillaged, looted and destroyed in Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus.
For further information or questions, please contact AHI, (202) 785-8430, or email

source: American Hellenic Institute (11/05/2012) «Contact the Biblical Archeology Society to convey severe effects of travel program’s entry into Republic of Cyprus via illegal ports of entry in Turkish-occupied area»

1 comment:

  1. Wow what a fantastic tour, we enjoyed a lot with this tour like night life in Cyprus
    Kykkos Monastery, archaeological park paphos, we hope you will continue with this stuff.