The controversial monument to the victims of the failed coup against President Erdogan at the lake of Tirana has been vandalised.
At 7am Friday morning, police were on the scene as a large section of the right-hand side of the stone appeared to have been broken off. Most of the monument remains in tact but it appears like it will be hard to mend. The missing piece was not immediately visible meaning it could possibly have been removed by whoever took matters into their own hands.
The monument has been guarded by police, funded by taxpayers money since it was erected in July of this year.
This is quite possibly the first memorial outside of Turkey that has been built to commemorate the victims of 15 July. Many have noted that there are not even any memorials in Albania for similar kinds of events, let alone for foreign political affairs.
Inaugurated on the third anniversary of the coup, it contains the name of 251 Turkish citizens killed by organisers of the coup. It fails to include the tens of thousands of names of the teachers, journalists, activists, opposition politicians, Kurds, academics, lawyers, and military personnel that have been arrested, detained, tortured, persecuted, physically harmed, assaulted, and even raped by Erdogan’s government as a response to the attempted coup.
The Municipality did not announce the memoria, the 251 trees named of the newly named Martyrs of July 15” road, or the accompanying “Triumph of Democracy Mach” that took place through the centre of Tirana.
Three days after its inauguration, Prime Minister Edi Rama visited Erdogan at his summer residence in Turkey.
The Memorial caused widespread controversy and outrage due to the fact that many consider Erdogan as an “autocrat” and a “dictator in all but name”. Many others take issue with the constant stream of human rights violations, arbitrary arrests, and the dangerous situation for journalists in the country.
Some have questioned why the Albanian government would put a memorial celebrating an authoritarian crackdown, in the middle of a park in the capital city of a country that is a ‘democracy’ and aims to join the European Union.
Editor’s Note: Turkish President Erdogan has invested significant funds into Albania to allegedly Islamize the population, in addition to building a huge mosque in Tirana. Albania has been historically Muslim but a secular nation. This reality may be changing with Turkish efforts.