Turkey moves to rebuild San Stefano Russian Monument in Istanbul
ANKARAParliament’s national defense commission has agreed to rebuild the historic Russian commemorative monument San Stefano (Ayastefanos) in Istanbul, in return for the building of five Turkish monuments in Russia.
The unorthodox move on March 31 comes after months of tension between Ankara and Moscow over Turkey’s downing of a Russian jet in November 2015.
The draft agreement was first inked in 2012 and now awaits a vote at the Turkish Parliament’s General Assembly, daily Habertürk reported on April 1.
According to the agreement, Turkey and Russia would each build monuments in commemoration of soldiers who died on each other’s soil in historic wars.
Although approved by the Foreign Affairs Commission in the previous parliamentary term, the agreement was not put into force as its draft was not discussed in the General Assembly.
It suggests that Moscow build a monument in the cities of Vladivostok, Petrevski and Hirov in the Krasnoyarsk regions of Russia, where a number of Turkish soldiers were held captive and died during the World War I.
The Samara region of Russia is also included in the draft’s list of places where monuments could be built if the graves of the Turkish soldiers are found.
In return, Russia suggests rebuilding San Stefano monument to commemorate the 15,000 Russian soldiers who lost their lives during the 1877-1878 Russo-Ottoman war.
Built in late 19th century, the monument was one of the reparations from the Ottomans to Russia following their defeat in the war. However, in 1914 the monument was demolished in a ceremony as it was regarded as a national shame.
Habertürk also reported that a joint commission will be set up to contribute to the discovery of unknown soldiers’ grave sites in both countries, as well as to oversee the smooth application of the treaty.