Turkish Vice President visits ‘complex’ construction site
TURKISH Vice President Fuat Oktay visited the construction site of the TRNC’s new Presidency and Parliament Complex in Lefkoşa on Wednesday.
The construction of the complex is being funded by Turkey. Work at the sprawling site has been moving at a fast pace in recent weeks and began not long after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called on other countries to recognise the TRNC in September.
It was Mr Erdoğan who said in a speech to the TRNC Parliament in July last year that the complex would help cement the status of the TRNC as an independent state.
He also described the current presidential offices used by Turkish Cypriot leaders for decades as a “shanty house belonging to the British” and the existing Parliament building – located on the site of a former Greek Cypriotowned tobacco factory – as “not befitting” the TRNC.
On Wednesday Mr Oktay, accompanied by President Ersin Tatar, ministers and senior Turkish and TRNC officials, inspected the ongoing construction work and also attended a presentation about the project.
Speaking after the presentation, Mr Oktay was quoted as saying the project is a “seal for both today and the future”.
“We, as the state of the Republic of Turkey, will forever stand by this seal to be stamped by the Turkish Cypriots,” he said.
During his visit to North Cyprus Mr Oktay also took part in an official “group opening and project launch ceremony” of Turkish-funded projects, such as a “Public Data Centre” and new roads.
In a speech at the event, Mr Oktay said that Cyprus is “part of the Turkish world with its past and future” and that Turkey “strongly supports the TRNC’s solution vision based on sovereign equality and equal international status”.
On Wednesday Mr Oktay and his wife Hümeyra Şahin Oktay attended a breakfast event with representatives of the Cyprus Turkish Entrepreneurial Women’s Association, the Businesswomen’s Association, and the Rural Development Women’s Cooperative at Pendaya Garden in Yeşilyurt.
“If you wish to bring about a transformation and have a solid structure based on strong production, you can achieve this by including women and young people,” Mr Oktay said during the event.
‘NO TO THE COMPLEX’
Meanwhile a protest march against the construction is due to take place in Lefkoşa at 4pm today. The demonstration is being organised by the “No to the Complex Platform”, a group formed of some opposition political parties, trade unions and environmentalists.
They claim that the construction is “unauthorised, illegal and unconstitutional” and that the money spent on building it could be better used on other infrastructure, such as schools and hospitals.
They have also dubbed the site a “külliye” in Turkish, a concept associated with Ottoman architecture that refers to a complex of buildings centred around a mosque.