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By Peter Stevenson MEMBERS of Volunteer Doctors Cyprus have treated around 350 people at their free clinic in Nicosia since it opened three months ago, while two more, one in Paphos and one in Polis are due to open today. Limassol also has a free clinic, which was opened only last month, and plans have been drawn ...
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Cyprus Internet Directory [ ‘It not as if don’t we have enough statues of Ataturk and flags’ ]

‘It not as if don’t we have enough statues of Ataturk and flags’

PEOPLE in the north are demanding a halt to the building of giant Turkish star and crescent and statue of Turkey’s founding father Kemal Ataturk less than one kilometre from the Ayios Demetrios-Kermia crossing in western Nicosia. They say it is both provocative to Greek Cypriots and poses a major traffic hazard.

“It’s normal to put up monuments, but it’s not as if don’t we have enough statues of Ataturk and flags,” Turkish Cypriot Nicosia municipal official Semavi Asik told the Cyprus Mail yesterday.

The erection of the monument has also meant that a peace monument designed by a Greek artist has had to be moved to another location.

Asik said he and a number of officials had opposed the Civil Defence Organisation’s (SST) request to place the monument in the middle of a major traffic junction just a few hundred metres from the crossing on the grounds that it was an unsuitable location. The SST had already erected two giant flags, one Turkish and one of the breakaway state, outside its building which abuts the traffic junction.

Asik said he also opposed the way the SST’s application had been approved by the municipality “without having first secured permission from the Chamber of Architects and Engineers and the Town Planning departments”.

For the military and its subordinate groups such as the SST to override normal procedure in the north is not unusual, according to retired pro-peace politician and former north Nicosia mayor Mustafa Akinci.

“It happened just a year or two ago when the army bulldozed an ancient burial site in Karpas to put up two giant flags. The sad thing is that while some oppose such things, they still happen.”

Head of the Turkish Cypriot Teacher’s Union (KTOS) Sener Elcil told the Cyprus Mail he also opposed the building of the monument for both political and safety reasons.

“It is being built to provoke Greek Cypriots coming to the north from the south,” Elcil said yesterday, adding: “The military is behind this. This is how things are here, and how they always have been”.

He said however that his main concern was for the safety of children attending a school adjacent to the traffic junction housing the monument.

“The monument will block the view of oncoming traffic,” he said, adding a call to the head of the Society for the Prevention of Traffic Accidents to speak out against its construction. Society head Dr Mehmet Avci refused however to comment, saying he had yet to see the plans.

For his part, North Nicosia Mayor Cemal Bulutoglulari rejected all claims that normal procedure had not been followed in allowing the construction of the Ataturk memorial and flag.

“We received a request from the Civil Defence Organisation asking if we could move the peace monument and put up a statue of Ataturk. We looked at the area and decided that it posed no problems from a traffic point of view. We also though it was appropriate to move the peace monument closer to the crossing,” he told the Mail yesterday.

Bulutoglulari added that it had never been necessary for the official bodies connected to the ‘state’ to apply for planning permission to put up monuments.

“My predecessor put up monuments all over the place and he didn’t apply for permission from Town Planning to do so,” he claimed.

However, Bulutoglulari said he and a ‘traffic committee’ would be looking into the matter and making a final decision on the suitability of the project today.

The SST was yesterday unavailable for comment.

(Source: Cyprus Mail)
Copyright © Cyprus Mail 2008 Please contact Cyprus Mail for the copyright terms of this article.

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