Debated memorial dedicated to Turkey’s failed coup damaged in Tirana

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times August 30, 2019 15:40

Debated memorial dedicated to Turkey’s failed coup damaged in Tirana

Story Highlights

  • The reaction was widespread because the monument was dedicated to an event related to another country and, moreover, to domestic political developments there. The mayor of the Albanian capital, Erion Veliaj, later declined to give clarifications on the municipality’s decision to do so, stating only that "there are over 50 memorials in the territory, where different cases are commemorated, and everyone can be respected,” but without offering a proper comparison among the cases he referred to.

Related Articles

TIRANA, Aug. 30 – A memorial dedicated to the victims of the failed coup d’etat in Turkey on July 15, 2016, located in the area of ​​the Great Lake Park in Tirana, was damaged on Friday in the early hours “by unidentified persons”, announced Albanian police through a press release about the event.

According to police, the memorial’s marble “has been hit with solid items”, and was broken in one corner.

The commemoration ceremony of the names of 251 people who died three years ago in Turkey took place on July 15, organized by the Turkish Embassy in Tirana, which announced that we “successfully and proudly inaugurated the ‘July 15 Martyrs’ Road’ and ‘July 15 Democracy Park.’ 

It stayed out of the focus of the media, but later became an issue of public debate. 

The reaction was widespread because the monument was dedicated to an event related to another country and, moreover, to domestic political developments there. The mayor of the Albanian capital, Erion Veliaj, later declined to give clarifications on the municipality’s decision to do so, stating only that “there are over 50 memorials in the territory, where different cases are commemorated, and everyone can be respected,” but without offering a proper comparison among the cases he referred to.

Veliaj reduced his reaction in responding to the critics, to the respect that should be shown for the dead, avoiding the substance of the debate. “I would say leave the dead be, and whoever wants to observe them with a candle, a flower or a prayer, also leave them be. Gracious Tirana has room for everyone.”

To this day, the City Hall has not clarified whose decision to erect the Memorial was, and what were the motives for such a decision. From a look at the City Council’s decisions published on its website, there does not appear to have been one regarding the ‘July 15th Martyrs Road’ and the ‘July 15th Democracy Park’.

Initially the Municipality of Tirana seemed to want to stay away from this event. Voice of America’s interest in contacting and interviewing one of the municipality leaders regarding the Memorial issue, a municipality spokesman, said the Foreign Ministry should be contacted. 

The latter officially explained to VOA that it was not involved in any form or manner at the July 15 ceremony, and that not even a single representative attended. 

Meanwhile, the municipality was represented at a high level, by Veliaj’s deputy, Arbjon Mazniku, the deputy mayor.

Three days after the ceremony in Tirana, Prime Minister Edi Rama announced in a photo that he was in Turkey “at the hospitality of President Erdogan at his summer residence in Marmaris.” Rama himself has frequently been targeted for his close reports with the head of the Turkish State, who has blamed the cleric Fetullah Gülen and the terrorist organization FETO, for the failed coup d’etat in Turkey. 

A few days later, Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu arrived in Tirana for a visit, stating in an interview for Turkish media that he had discussed with his Albanian counterpart Sandar Llesaj but also with Prime Minister Edi Rama about the fight against all terrorist organizations, including FETO.

 

 

 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times August 30, 2019 15:40