ISTANBUL (Combined Sources)—The decision to demolish the Armenia-Turkey Friendship Monument in Kars was made at the urging of Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev, said the former Kars mayor in response to question from university students.
Last month, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared the monument “monstrous” and ordered it abolished.
Speaking to journalism students from Marmara University, former Kars Mayor Naif Alibeyoglu, when asked about the decision to demolish the monument, revealed that it was Aliyev who urged the demolition.
“Turkey has an oil and gas dependence on Azerbaijan. This is the only reason for demolition,” the former mayor emphasized.
Alibeyoglu stressed that nobody objected to the idea of creating the monument. “The decision was made at the meeting of the city council. Even the representatives of the ‘Nationalist Movement Party’ did not object to the idea,” said Alibeyoglu.
As mayor, Alibeyoglu has advocated the the opening of the Armenia-Turkey border without preconditions and organized a petition drive in Kars. It was on his initiative that the friendship monument was erected.
Alibeyoglu was defeated in the mayoral elections in 2009. The unfinished monument was put near the old Armenian district of Kars.