Following a request by the Armenian and Greek Pontian communities of Paphos, the municipal council has renamed Talaat Pasha street, which recognises the man widely regarded as the principal architect of the Armenian genocide.

“Talaat Pasha street has been renamed as Justice Street. Those who planned and executed genocide have no place in odonyms,” a municipality spokesman told the Cyprus Mail on Tuesday. The street signs are expected to be changed soon.

The municipal council of Paphos is reaffirming its respect for the place names of Paphos in the light of the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by dozens of countries around the world, as well as the international academic community, and also the discussion about the genocide of the Greeks of Pontus, the municipality said.

Mehmed Talaat, commonly known as Talaat Pasha, was one of the Three Pashas that de facto ruled the Ottoman Empire during WWI.

He ruled the empire during the Armenian Genocide, which he initiated as Minister of Interior Affairs in 1915.

Acting as the minister of interior, in 1915 Pasha ordered the arrest and deportation of Armenian intellectuals in Constantinople, most of whom were subsequently murdered, and also requested the Tehcir Law (Temporary Deportation Law). These events initiated the Armenian Genocide.

He is widely considered the main perpetrator of the genocide, and thus is held responsible for the death of around one million Armenians.

“Through the study of historical facts, the leading role of Talaat Pasha in the planning and execution of these genocides is documented. The council, aware of the weight of its responsibility towards the present and future generations, unanimously decided to remove the name of Talaat Pasha from the street of the city and by a majority decided to rename the street Justice Street, wanting to send a strong message to the local community and the international community that people who committed genocide have no place in the bright pages of history,” the municipality said.