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Evangelos Venizelos speaks out on Parthenon Marbles issue

PASOK leader & Greek Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos is no stranger to dealing with the Parthenon Sculptures issue [1]. He has been quiet about it in public though, since he lost his position as Culture Minister after Nea Demokratia took power in the 2004 general election.

Today though, he had the opportunity to speak to the European Parliament plenary in Strasbourg, about the return of looted cultural artefacts, where he mentioned both the case of the Parthenon Marbles, as well as the various more recent cases that have arisen in Cyprus since the 1974 Turkish occupation.

PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos [2]

PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos

Famagusta Gazette [3]

Greek FM refers to destruction of Cyprus’ cultural heritage in occupied north
Thursday, 17 April, 2014

Greek Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos, speaking before the European Parliament plenary in Strasbourg on the return of cultural objects unlawfully removed from the territory of a member state, referred to the need to return the Parthenon marbles to Greece and the damage that Cyprus` cultural treasures have suffered since the 1974 Turkish invasion.

He said that the new directive regarding the return of cultural objects is clearly improved compared to the one that existed since 1993 and it will be an important instrument in handling illegal trafficking of cultural artifacts, which is one of the widely used forms of organised crime.

Venizelos said that by representing the Greek government, he is very well aware what it means for a country to be culturally severed and referred to the Parthenon marbles which were removed from the Parthenon at Athens and shipped to England by arrangement of Thomas Bruce, 7th Lord Elgin, who was British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire.

The Greek minister said the Parthenon is a monument which has parts of it scattered. “Ministers are now attending working dinner at the Acropolis Museum where the marbles should have been exhibited”, he added.

Venizelos also referred to the damage that the Republic of Cyprus has suffered after Turkey’s military invasion of 1974 which saw the destruction of archaeological and cultural sites in the Turkish occupied north of Cyprus.

“All EU member states, be they members of UNESCO or not, are bound by international conventions”, he said, adding that it is very important to enhance cooperation with UNESCO and the Council of Europe which also has responsibilities. — (KYPE)