The city council in Paphos has voted to rename Talaat Pasha street, after examining a request representing interests within the Armenian community.
According to Paphos Mayor Phedon Phedonos, municipal council members voted on Tuesday to rename Talaat Pasha street to Dikaiosyni Street (Greek for: justice), after taking into consideration objections within the Armenian community but also Anatolian Greeks living on the island.
“The Paphos Municipal Council, feeling a sense of duty towards current and future generations, voted unanimously to remove Talaat Pasha as a street name,” the mayor wrote on Facebook.
A council statement said it was 'sending a strong message to the local and international community that people who committed genocide have no place in the bright pages of history'
Mehmed Talaat, commonly known as Talaat Pasha, was a Grand Vizier in the Ottoman Empire and one of The Three Pashas during the Armenian atrocities that began in 1915. While a number of countries and parliaments have formally recognized the atrocities as genocide carried out by the Ottoman Empire, Ankara continues to reject the term arguing it is historically inaccurate.
Talaat, who fled the Ottoman Empire before he was sentenced to death in absentia, was eventually gunned down in Berlin by Armenian revolutionary Soghomon Tehlirian, who was later acquitted on mental health grounds. He claimed during the trial that he had been in eastern Turkey in 1915 and had been deported along with his family, adding that he personally witnessed their murder.
A council statement said it was “sending a strong message to the local and international community that people who committed genocide have no place in the bright pages of history.”
Media sources said objection to the street name Talaat Pasha was based on a request filed with the Paphos authorities by Armenian Hagop Kasabian, while the new street name was tabled by DYSI council member Nina Gkaraklidou who said Tuesday’s vote “proved that when there is political will, then we can chart a new course and take historic decision.”
Gkaraklidou was also credited last year with a proposal to establish a park dedicated to Anatolian Greeks, with local media reports saying the council approved plans to build the park on Turkish Cypriot land.