President Tatar: “The State is doing its utmost to protect our cultural and historical heritage assets whilst we are keeping track”
President Ersin Tatar visited the St Hilarion Castle following the fire which occurred yesterday as a result of a lightning strike which destroyed the cafeteria section of the world-renowned iconic structure located above Girne.
The President inspected the damages and spoke with officials, where he emphasised the “important historical and cultural attributes” of St Hilarion Castle as “being one of the most important symbols of our cultural heritage and historical wealth”. He said the castle, which is integrated into the Five Finger mountains, also “played a very important role in the national struggle of the Turkish Cypriots in their fight to exist and survive in Cyprus”. He said historically, the castle had “commanded” a very important part of the history of the Eastern Mediterranean for a thousand years. President Tatar added that the cafeteria part of the castle had been destroyed by the fire – which was also the case in the great mountain fire of 1995, because it was constructed with wood. “There is indeed a need for it to be constructed with an alternative material that offers better protection and which strengthens the structure which is in harmony with the environment,” the President stated.
“It is unfortunate that the fire occurred as a result of a natural phenomenon,” President Tatar said. “The fire broke out as a result of the lightning during the storm. There was no negligence in relation to the fire."
“A bigger fire was prevented in one of the highest altitude areas of our country following the intervention of our fire emergency services. This has shown the capability of our organisations and their ability to mobilise quickly in the face of a natural disaster in the TRNC. I commend all the fire fighters involved, Civil Defence and Security Forces.”
Drawing on the importance of protecting the historical structures and monuments of the TRNC, President Tatar said that the state is “implementing its best course of action in order to protect the historical structures that are a fundamental fabric of our culture and history.”
President Tatar: “Our position is clear on the Cyprus issue”
President Ersin Tatar, answering a question by the press in relation to the latest developments on the Cyprus issue and the recent statements by Turkish Vice President, Fuat Oktay, said: “The latest developments have shown that Cyprus is not the old Cyprus, and the eastern Mediterranean is also not the old eastern Mediterranean. The importance of Cyprus is stipulated to us by visiting EU, UN and foreign dignitaries. They are expressing support in their desire to assist us in trying to find an agreement in relation to the Cyprus issue".
President Tatar, stating that Cyprus is the “inherent homeland” of the Turkish Cypriot people, said he coddled for the existence, development and growth of the TRNC, adding that “I cannot stress enough the importance of working together with Motherland Turkey”.
Referring to the five-plus-UN informal meeting to be convened in Geneva, Switzerland, President Tatar said that the position taken by the Turkish Cypriot side “is open and clear”, adding: “Efforts to reach a federal agreement have failed and the negotiation processes over the 50-year period has shown the intention of the opposite side,” he said.
“The Balance is in our favour”
“Whilst we have raised the bar, it is best to defend this policy in this way and we will do it,” President Tatar said. “The balance has tipped in our favour. We will continue to defend our policy in this manner.”
President Tatar said that the Turkish Cypriot side and the Republic of Turkey are in “full agreement” in relation to the “sovereign equality and cooperative relationship of two States policy as being the basis for a settlement following repeated failures due to the hegemonic aspiration of the Greek Cypriot side and refusal to share power and prosperity with the Turkish Cypriot side.