It is not surprising that there is Hürriyet Şehitleri Abidesi (Freedom Martyrs Monument) in Istanbul, where two leaders of the notorious Ottoman Triumvirate – Talaat Pasha and Enver Pasha – responsible for masterminding and perpetrating the Armenian Genocide, rest in peace (see details). After all, the Turkish government not only categorically denies the Genocide, but also hails its perpetrators as heroes.
It is, however, astonishing that the first country to raise the issue of the Armenian Genocide to the UN General Assembly back in 1965; the second country to recognize it in 1975; and the fifth country to outlaw its denial in 2015, honors its main mastermind, Talaat Pasha in one of its cities. There is Talat Paşa Street in the city of Paphos, Cyprus. This makes Cyprus the only EU country to honor the principal perpetrator of the Armenian Genocide in that capcity. (And, no, this beautiful coastal city is not located in the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus).
On the eve of the 95th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, on April 5, 2010, a memorial plaque appeared on a building in the heart of Tbilisi, Georgia, to commemorate Ahmed Jemal Pasha, the other leader of the Triumvirate.
The memorial plaque read: “This is the place, where Turkey’s true patriot, statesman and military leader Ahmed Jemal Pasha (1872-1922) fell heroically. It is dedicated to his immortal memory that will never be erased from the hearts of the Georgian and Turkish peoples.” Ironically, this message was nailed to a wall of a building that allegedly belonged to an Armenian – Anton Korkhanyan, a Georgian government advisor.
The installment of the controversial plaque did not come as a big surprise, given the Georgian authorities’ track record of repeated refusals to recognize the Armenian Genocide, as well as their leniency toward discriminatory practices against its Armenian minority, since Soviet times. And yet it was thanks to the protests of a group of Georgian-Armenians, that Jemal’s memorial plaque survived 12 days only.
What measures have the Cypriot-Armenians taken to have Talat Pasha Street in Paphos renamed since at least 1975 when Cyprus recognized the Armenian Genocide? I decided to ask Gibrahyer e-Magazine based in Nicosia. No response has followed so far.