A statue of former Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash in Istanbul’s Life Valley Park was vandalised on Monday after the local municipality came under severe criticism for the inclusion of Archbishop Makarios in the ‘story of the TRNC’.
The part of the monument where a relief shows Makarios and former Turkish Cypriot leader Dr Fazil Kucuk was attacked and the faces of Makarios and Kucuk were both destroyed.
The relief represents the establishment of the Republic at the UN, where Makarios signs a document with Kucuk with the logo of the UN behind and Denktash sitting beside them. Below this image it writes: ‘He who established a state out of a community 1983’.
The Turkish Cypriots declared the ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’ as a state in 1983. It has not been recognised as such by any state other than Turkey.
Following the unveiling of the monument on May 19, AKP member of the Beylikduzu Municipal Assembly Mucahit Birinci sent a tweet with a picture saying ‘(Beylikduzu Mayor Ekrem) Imamoglu erected the statue of murderer of Turks Makarios’.
Media close to AKP slammed the monument leading to a protest by the Grey Wolves demanding the relief of Makarios to be taken out from the monument.
Meanwhile, Denktash’s daughter Ender Vangol defended the monument on her social media account saying that Makarios was one of the leading figures in the struggle that made Cyprus.
Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS wrote on Tuesday that while heavy criticisms were made against Makarios being included in the monument no mention was made of the man sitting next to him (Kucuk) who was the first leader of the Turkish Cypriots and the first Vice President of the Republic of Cyprus.