Archbishop denounces Turkish occupation
A GREEK Cypriot church leader made a blistering attack on Turkey for its occupation of northern Cyprus as Pope Benedict began a pilgrimage to the divided island yesterday.
In an opening address to Pope Benedict, the head of Cyprus's Orthodox Church, Archbishop Chrysostomos II, said that "Turkey has barbarously invaded and conquered by force of arms 37pc of our homeland."
Archbishop Chrysostomos said that Turkey "continues to carry out its obscure plans which include the annexation of the land now under military occupation, and then a conquest of the whole of Cyprus."
His comments came as Benedict began a sensitive three-day day visit to Cyprus, an island divided between ethnic Turks and Greeks and viewed by the Vatican as a bridge between Europe and the Middle East.
The Pope did not respond to the archbishop's remarks. Instead, Benedict spoke of the cooperation between Catholics and Orthodox Christians.
A Vatican spokesman also said that while there are no plans for Pope Benedict to visit the Turkish-occupied north, he may meet with a Muslim delegation from the area.
Earlier, the Pope also declined to blame Turkey for the killing of a Catholic bishop on Thursday. Turkish officials have said Bishop Luigi Padovese was killed by his driver, who has been charged with murder and appears to be mentally unstable.