Safe Denktaş tomb to avoid arch-rival’s fate
Founding Turkish Cypriot President Rauf Denktaş. AA photoRauf Denktaş, the founding Turkish Cypriot president who died Jan. 13 at the age of 88, might have ended his long run in his struggle for Cyprus but the long-standing rivalry over the divided island appears that it will decide his final resting place.
The Turkish Cypriot Prime Minister İrsen Küçük told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday that Denktaş would be buried in a safe place at the symbolic Republican Park due to security concerns despite his last will to be buried with his son, Raif Denktaş, at Nicosia Cemetery.
Besides the tight security, Republican Park is also known as the venue where Denktaş and his friends in the mid-1950s formed the Turkish Resistance Organization (TMT) on Cyprus, which ended operations after 1974 when Turkey’s military intervened following a right-wing coup backed by the then-military junta in Greece.
The family of Denktaş also told the Daily News that the decision to lay the late leader to rest at Republican Park was reached in consideration of the fate of his arch-rival, Greek Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos, who died in 2008 and whose body was stolen by thieves in 2009. Family sources also said a competition would soon be launched to build a monument for the late president.
After Turkey’s intervention, Denktaş was subsequently elected as president of Turkish Cyprus in every poll until April 2005 elections.