"It is the property of the municipality" says perpetrator of cultural genocide
Bulustra (Avdira) Mayor Giorgos Tsitiridis, who intended to destroy the Turkish Cemetery and build a social facility project, said, "It is the property of the municipality."
Bulustra Mayor Giorgos Tsitiridis, who intended to destroy the Muslim Turkish Cemetery from the Ottoman period in Xanthi region to build a social facility project, said, "It is the property of the municipality."
A confrontation erupted between the minority council members and Mayor Tsitiridis at the municipality council meeting on Tuesday, March 15. Main opposition leader Ahtanasios Kritsinis was also included to the debate.
While council members belonging to the Turkish minority reacted to the destruction of the Ottoman cemetery on the grounds that it was Waqf's (Charity) property, Mayor Tsitiridis claimed that the cemetery had been the municipality's property for 65 years and that they did not intend to destroy it, but rather to reveal it by cleaning it.
The destruction of cemeteries and tombstones as part of the cleaning operation is unacceptable, according to minority council members.
We quote some of the dialogues at the council meeting from the video on the XanthiNews website:
Mayor Tsitiridis responded to opposition minority council member Bülent Velioğlu's question regarding the subject as follows:
“The land you mentioned has been the property of the municipality for 55-60 years. This land was classified as a green area in 1986-87 and was registered by the municipality.
It is seen as a green area in the land registry cadastral records of the village of Horozlu (Petinos). It was classified as a green area by the former Hemetli (Diomidia) township about 60 years ago. Registered as the property of the municipality. There was a request by the Horozlu (Waqf) foundation committee to have the place cleaned because the probability of a fire was high, and it had sunk.
Council member Bülent Velioğlu took the floor again and said, "All title deeds of properties around the cemetery, bordering with the cemetery contain a declaration proclaiming that "the properity bordering with a Muslim or Turkish graveyard". Did you know this? said characteristically.
TSITIRIDIS: “I repeat. The relevant land you are talking about was registered 60-65 years ago by Hemetli Township at that time. As the mayor, I say this. The detection of a land belonging to someone else means a violation. I told you before. I cannot give or donate a 60–65-year-old municipal property to anyone. I have read the application of Mr. Ömeroğlu very carefully. It doesn't talk about this place. He's talking about another place. Have you read? It doesn't mention this place. He's talking about another place.
BÜLENT VELIOĞLU: “I've looked at other titles. In those deeds, there are statements that all the properties around the land we mentioned have borders with either a Muslim or a Turkish cemetery. You know very well that this is a Muslim cemetery. You want to make use of this land. You know, Islam prohibits the destruction of cemeteries. I say this clearly. You are currently the only mayor in Greece who has done this.”
TSITIRIDIS: Look. We respect everyone's opinion. Look, we're actually trying to uncover the cemetery there. This cemetery has been like a 'jungle' for 50 years. No one was buried. It was a place where no one was. I also live in that area. For 40 years it was a 'jungle'. No one could get in. The danger of fire was too great. There was even a danger of the fire spreading to the surrounding villages. There was a request for the place to be cleaned. We're actually trying to uncover the cemetery. We certainly don't want to destroy it. On the contrary, we want to reveal it. We intend to turn it into a place where people can go easily. We are planning to build a monument there. We want to make use of the other land as well. In the area we are talking about, the cemetery should not be over 15 decare. This place will remain as a cemetery. We have respect for religions and cultures. That's why I refer to multiculturalism. We would like to make use of the said place, which is registered as a green area. We want to make it available to everyone living in the region. So, Christians and Muslims should be able to go there for a walk. We'll split it up. Part of it will be a cemetery. It will have a separate entrance. Anyone can take care of it. The rest will be used as green area, as stated in the project, which has been in existence since 1987.”
ATHANASIOS KLITSINIS: "Mayor! As you describe, is there such a place anywhere else in Greece? Can you show as an example? Is it possible to carry out activities in a place where it is obvious that it is a cemetery? Is it possible to get a building permit?”
İLHAN GİRİTLİ: You also know that it is a Muslim cemetery. We should have all sat down and consulted before making any decisions about it. We should have discussed what can be done right there. There are people who buried their grandfathers in that cemetery. You should have consulted them. Now we all have to go and see it together.”
TSITIRIDIS: “We have not made any decisions. We didn't make any proposals. We include it in the Development Programme. The project has a preparatory phase. Then this project will already pass many commissions and council. You just said you didn't know where it was for all these years. I did not ask you, but to Mr. Bülent, who was a few kilometers away. Has he ever entered the cemetery we are talking about in the last 50 years?”
BÜLENT: “What does that have to do with it?”
TSITIRIDIS: “We are working on making it a visitable place.”
BÜLENT: “How would you evaluate that place even though you do not know who is buried where? I told you something very simple. Do you take completely the responsibility as mayor? Do you want to be the number one mayor of Greece in this regard?”
TSITIRIDIS: “With the same logic, I say this in response: You are the only council member who said that the municipal property should be transferred to the (Waqf) foundation committee.”
BÜLENT: "I never said anything like that. I mentioned that a request had been filed."
TSITIRIDIS: “A petition has been filed for the transfer of municipality property to the foundation committee. Do you consent to the transfer of municipal property to the foundation committee?”
İLHAN GİRİTLİ: “One minute. We speak in Greek. If there are people buried there, the foundation committee should take over what should be done about it. Logic says that."
TSITIRIDIS: “We do not touch the cemetery. We uncover the cemetery.
BÜLENT: “You didn't leave anything. You dismantled everything.”
TSITIRIDIS: “How else will cleaning be done?
İLHAN: “The issue needs to be brought to the council again. I would like it to be worked on detail.”