The idea of euthanising healthy donkeys is “absolutely out of the question”, Tashkent nature park director Kemal Basat said on Wednesday.

He was responding to a report in Turkish newspaper Sozcu which bore the headline “let’s put the donkeys to sleep” and claimed that a debate regarding the potential euthanasia of donkeys in Karpasia had developed in Cyprus and “divided the country in two”.

Basat is one of the stakeholders involved in the “Karpasia donkeys management plan cooperation protocol” and said that in the drawing up of the protocol, “not a single word was said by a single stakeholder” about euthanising the donkeys.

“There is a signed protocol, and the nature park is executing that protocol,” he said, adding that the nature park is an “expert professional organisation”.

He was also keen to point out that the mukhtars interviewed Sozcu, “while expressing their grievances, did not demand that the animals be euthanised”, and that the article in question did not state who had called for the donkeys to be euthanised.

“It seems that the article’s author used their imagination to first create the headline, and then did not feel the need to go back and check whether the content of the article and the headline matched,” he added.

He therefore urged the public to “not trust this type of superficial, unfounded, and artificial news which serves no purpose other than creating an agenda.”

On Tuesday, Karpasia environmental protection and social activity association chairman Firat Borak had said the article had been published with the aim of influencing public opinion in Turkey in favour of euthanising stray dogs.

Donkeys in the Karpas are being used as proxies to cover these people’s sins and crimes against humanity,” he told news website Kibris Postasi.

Regarding progress on the protocol, Basat said on Wednesday a research station has been established in Karpasia with the support of the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (Tika), and that work to devise the forthcoming “donkey management plan” is ongoing between the various stakeholders.