Statement from the Office of RTCYPP
26 July 2021
Religious Leaders of Cyprus, extend sincere thanks, appreciation and their respects to Prof. Dr Talip Atalay as he leaves office as Mufti of Cyprus and wish him all the very best in his new endeavors. Described by all who worked with him as a person with integrity & dignity, honest, genuine, courageous, polite, patient and kind, he will be missed by all who knew him.
Professor Dr Atalay was the first Mufti in the history of Cyprus who was in dialogue with all religious leaders of Cyprus and faith communities in Cyprus. Together with Archbishop Chrysostomos II, head of the autocephalous Greek Orthodox Church of Cyprus, he worked tirelessly for ten years, to create understanding, build bridges of trust among the faith communities of the island and advance religious freedom.
Together they invited the Armenian, Maronite and Latin Catholic Religious Leaders of Cyprus to join them on a journey of transformation, where the language of understanding, solidarity, human rights and peace found centre stage.
Inspired by their religious teachings and driven by their strong commitment to bring about positive change, the five religious’ leaders of Cyprus took courageous and unprecedented steps together and were able to bring about concrete and significant steps for religious freedom, human rights, peace and reconciliation.
Since 2011, their united voice and witness were heard, recognized & appreciated by different international institutions, among others, the UN Security Council, the UN Secretary General and his Good Offices in Cyprus, UNFICYP, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Special Rapporteurs for Freedom of Religion, the Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the OSCE, the European Commission, the US Department of State and the diplomatic community in Cyprus. Together they reached out and established relationships with political leaders, UNFICYP, Committee on Missing Persons, UNHCR – Cyprus, local political parties, municipalities, women’s groups, academics and countless non-governmental organizations.
Throughout the process, Dr Atalay remained a man of principle and sincere values, loyal to his own faith and beliefs. Despite the critique, misunderstandings, even attacks he continued to seek truth, teach love and uphold justice.
The Office of the Religious Track of the Peace Process under the Auspices of the Embassy of Sweden and all involved join the Religious Leaders of Cyprus to sincerely thank Dr Atalay for his trust, cooperation & leadership and extend best wishes for the future.
Dr Atalay served as Mufti of Cyprus from December 2010 until 17 July 2021 when his service was terminated.