Turkish street names sought to be changed in Greek Cyprus

Turkish street names sought to be changed in Greek Cyprus

Turkish street names sought to be changed in Greek Cyprus

Members of nationalist Greek Cypriot political parties, especially the far-right ELAM, have requested the change of some Turkish street names from the local authorities of the city of Larnaca, where Turkish and Greek Cypriot communities lived together before 1974.

Streets with Turkish or Turkish-sounding names in Greek Cyprus have been a hot issue over the years, especially in Larnaca where members of the ELAM have been calling for streets with “Turkish names” to be replaced with “Greek names.”

Recently, other street signs with Turkish names were the topic of a heated discussion on Facebook groups, with social media users calling on the officials to remove them in the Mediterranean city’s historic Turkish Cypriot quarter.

Some demanded that the sign of Bozkurt Street should be removed, and the name of Istanbul Street should be changed to “Constantinople” in the city where the names of Piyale Paşa and Talat Paşa avenues were changed before.

Last month, Talat Paşa Avenue in the city was unanimously renamed Justice Avenue, upon the request of the Greek Cypriot citizens of Armenian and Pontus origin on the grounds that Talat Paşa was among the masterminds of the “1915 events.”

However, Istanbul Street and Bozkurt Street in Larnaca’s old Turkish Cypriot quarter were named many decades ago before intercommunal fighting broke out on the island.

Larnaca Mayor Andreas Vyras also argued that the name of Bozkurt, “gray wolf” in Turkish, was given in the 1910s and that Turkish nationalists were not called by this name at that time, responding to criticisms that the gray wolf is a Turkish nationalist symbol.

According to the Greek Cypriot media, ELAM also asked that Kemal Atatürk Street in Paphos city be renamed in honor of Konstantinos Katsifas, an ethnically Greek man who was fatally injured by Albanian police in an exchange of gunfire near the Greek-Albanian border in 2018.