Turkish Cypriot 'Foreign Minister' Calls for Halt to Greek Cypriot Activities in Buffer Zone Near Pyla

Construction of the Pyla-Arsos roadway

Tahsin Ertugruloglu, the 'foreign minister' of the Turkish Cypriot community, has called for an immediate halt to the work being conducted by Greek Cypriots in the buffer zone near Pyla. In recent days, Greek Cypriot labourers have entered this area to initiate land development, in accordance with a recent mutual understanding.

United Nations sources, as confirmed by the Cyprus Mail, have stated that the Greek Cypriot activities within the buffer zone were authorized and aligned with the mutual understanding. However, Ertugruloglu holds a different viewpoint. He expressed, "We do not connect these actions to the road. We had a meeting with the UN, but suddenly, work vehicles entered these agricultural lands and started working. We refrained from making a press statement earlier to avoid escalating tensions, and a high-level meeting occurred on Friday."

Ertugruloglu argued that the Greek side has been violating the buffer zone in the region for the past 30 years by constructing infrastructure, roads, universities, and even a stadium as if it were their own territory. He emphasized that it would be a mistake to assume that these road projects would lead to concessions for the Greek Cypriots, and he attributed this as a misunderstanding made by the UN.

Furthermore, Ertugruloglu stressed, "We have expressed our desire for this work to cease. We had previous projects in the area that were halted. If there is to be a change in the area's status quo, it must be approached cautiously. Our position is that any work in this area should only proceed after negotiations with us."

The mutual understanding outlined plans to develop 400 plots of land to the north of the village for residential purposes. Additionally, a substantial solar farm is slated for construction in an open area northwest of the village. It is in this region that Greek Cypriot teams have been active in recent days, believing they are implementing the portion of the mutual understanding related to a "civil use area," which encompasses residential properties and a solar farm. Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriots are working on a road project from Pyla to the village of Arsos in the north.

The UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (Unficyp) spokesperson, Aleem Siddique, noted that Unficyp had taken note of the concerns raised by the Turkish Cypriot side and remains committed to addressing various issues with them to find a mutually acceptable solution.

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