Scuffles broke out in the north on Tuesday afternoon to protest the construction of a new ‘government’ complex worth over a hundred million euro by Turkey in the middle of a financial crisis, reports said.
A human chain was to be formed at the Kermia roundabout in the north at 3:30pm, with the participation of opposition parties, the bar association, doctors, architects and engineers, who claim the so-called ‘Kulliye’ project was approved without going through standard procedures.
Protesters pushed through the barbed wire barriers placed at the scene, and police unsuccessfully attempted to stop them.
The project foresees the construction of a new ‘parliament’, a ‘presidential palace’, a park, and a mosque, a contract for which has been awarded to the Turkish company Siyahkalemvia a Turkish tender.
However, claims in the north by the construction company Tufekci have said that 80 per cent of the construction will be given to Turkish Cypriots.
A spokesman from the company told Yeni Duzen that the entire project is being constructed without the relevant licences required and work has already begun on the new parliament building.
Head of the Turkish Cypriot Building Contractors Association (KTİMB) Cafer Gurcafer said that although there are more important projects they could be working on during a financial crisis, the Turkish foreign ministry has been pushing for this project.
“We were against the philosophical part. We are going through difficult economic times and we suggested that this money be used elsewhere. However, the ministry of foreign affairs of Turkey said they are determined about construction in terms of foreign policy,” he said.
Parties, engineers, and others have opposed the move, saying it is ‘disrespectful’ towards the people going through financial difficulties as the project is estimated to cost approximately €155,218,000.
Main opposition CTP leader Tufan Erhurman has said: “Such buildings cannot be built in a time when all sectors are struggling with serious economic problems.”
He added that if the ‘government’ had wanted to build this complex, the architecture, design and construction could have been done by Turkish Cypriot companies.