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26 May, 2024
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Walls go up as wall comes down in divided Nicosia

Turkish Cypriots prepared to tackle medieval wall collapse by trying to jump through hoops


Turkish Cypriot city officials in north Nicosia say they are prepared to tackle a collapsed Venetian wall with or without help from the south, as both sides on the divided island still disagree on how to fix it together.

According to Hurriyet, the mayor of the Turkish Cypriot municipality in north Nicosia, Mehmet Harmanci, said they were in consultations with Greek Cypriot authorities in the south in an effort to approach the issue of repairing the town’s medieval walls together.

In late February, a small block of the medieval wall in Cyprus’ divided capital collapsed inside the UN buffer zone. It was the third time the specific part of the historic wall network came down with media saying the collapse was due to heavy rains.

Harmanci said restoration work should begin “immediately with a holistic project that will cover all the walls without making a north-south distinction.”

Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots disagree on where to draw the line between the base and top of the wall, with the latest collapse complicating matters as buildings at the top would be affected

But the two sides have been debating exactly how to do that.

Constantinos Yiorkadjis, the mayor of Nicosia in the south, had consultations with Harmanci over the issue, with the two men agreeing on the need to acquire funds for the job.

But there was still some disagreement on procedures that would allow a bicommunal technical committee, which includes members from both sides and works within a UN framework, to move forward with repairs not only at the point of collapse but the entire wall.

The Greek Cypriot co-chair of the committee, Sotos Ktoris, said last month they were prepared to tackle the issue but they had not been asked by authorities to get involved.

A previous UN plan agreed by both sides called for the south to restore the wall’s facade while the north would carry out repairs on the top of the wall.

But local media reports on both sides suggested Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots disagreed on where to draw the line between the base and top of the wall, with the latest collapse complicating matters further as buildings at the top would be affected.

Together but also individually

According to Hurriyet, Harmanci said the issue would be raised with the United Nations and the European Union both individually as well as by two municipalities.

Harmanci pointed out that “some legal regulations do not allow them to take initiative and responsibility for the protection of the cultural heritage.”

“We aspire to take legal authority and responsibility for the sustainable preservation of the rich cultural heritage of the city, especially the city walls, after the restoration works that need to be implemented urgently,” Harmanci said.

Cyprus  |  Nicosia  |  medieval wall  |  Greek  |  Turkish  |  Cypriot  |  Harmanci  |  Yiorkadjis  |  Ktoris  |  restoration  |  United Nations  |  buffer zone  |  peace  |  divided capital

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