EU to investigate whether KKTC flag is environmental hazard

EU to investigate whether KKTC flag is environmental hazard

February 03, 2010, Wednesday/ 15:55:00
The European Union will launch an investigation into whether a Turkish Cypriot flag carved on a mountain on the Turkish side of Cyprus is hazardous to the environment, the 27-nation bloc’s outgoing enlargement commissioner has said.

The EU Commission understands the Greek Cypriot sensitivity regarding the flag and will immediately launch an investigation, Olli Rehn has said in response to a formal question from a Greek Cypriot member of the European Parliament, Antigoni Papadopoulou, the Greek Cypriot newspaper Phileleftheros reported.

The flag, carved on Beşparmaklar Mountain (Mount Pentadaktylos in Greek) in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC), has long been disturbing to the Greek Cypriots, who say its huge image -- easily visible from the Greek Cypriot south -- is an act of provocation. In his formal question to the commission, dated Oct. 22, 2009, Papadopoulou urged the commission to take action against the flag, which he said constituted a “hostile action” and an “unprecedented daily provocation to the people of Cyprus.” He also said the EU should not permit “the existence of such a flag which, apart from the catastrophic environmental damage it causes, the use of chemical substances and the brutal abuse of the environment, involves an absurd waste of electricity at a time of economic crisis”

While promising to look into the environmental concerns, Rehn, however, declined to consider Greek Cypriot complaints about the flag’s political message or whether it is provocative or not.

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