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Road construction sparks a new conflict in Cyprus

Pella in Cyprus is one of the few places where Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots live on the divided island.  Archive the photo.
Pella in Cyprus is one of the few places where Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots live on the divided island. Archive the photo.

Turkey called the actions of the United Nations in Cyprus unacceptable, after the UN peacekeepers tried to stop the construction of a disputed road in the buffer zone between the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots on the island.

The statement on the conflict came from a spokesman for Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party, who said the UN position was “very wrong”.

Construction of the road near the ethnically mixed town of Pella was not approved, so UN forces attempted to stop the work. According to the UN, the UN representatives were attacked by Turkish Cypriot forces. Video recordings show how road machines overrun UN-marked vehicles and Turkish Cypriot police force UN soldiers away.

The authenticity of the recordings has not been verified by independent sources, but the UN responded forcefully:

The UN peacekeeping agency in Cyprus said in a statement on Friday that “threats to the security of UN peacekeepers and the destruction of UN materials are unacceptable.”

The government of the self-proclaimed Turkish Cypriot part of northern Cyprus, called the Turkish Republic, responded that the accusations were unfounded and that road construction was necessary for the residents of the area.

Then Turkey escalated its rhetoric on Saturday when AKP spokesman Omer Celik wrote on X (formerly Twitter) that the UN approach to “appeasement of Greek Cypriots destroyed trust” in UN efforts on the island.

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