‘All Calm’ in Buffer Zone After Alleged Turkish Cypriot Incursions
“All is calm” in the buffer zone around the Ayios Dhometios area on Tuesday, United Nations peacekeeping force in Cyprus (Unficyp) spokesman Aleem Siddique said, after alleged Turkish Cypriot incursions in the area on Monday.
Siddique was speaking to the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) and said “unauthorised works inside the buffer zone are strictly prohibited.”
He added that Unficyp is continuing its discussions with the Turkish Cypriot side “to prevent further tensions and ensure the maintenance of the status quo”, and that they are closely monitoring the area.
Media reports had said on Monday that Turkish Cypriot soldiers had “installed a rotating camera and an antenna on top of an empty building in the Ayios Dhometios buffer zone at around 4pm on Monday.”
Government spokesman Konstantinos Letymbiotis had then said there had been a “serious violation” of the buffer zone.
Reacting to the news on Tuesday, Ayios Dhometios mayor Kostas Petrou told CNA that “the mental state of the area’s residents has deteriorated” as a result of the incident.
“Residents in the area are already facing problems due to their proximity to the buffer zone and the increased traffic they face daily from cars going to and from the Ayios Dhometios crossing point,” he added.
He claimed that there was shouting on Monday when “a large number of armed men, about 40” appeared in the buffer zone.
However, Mustafa Lakadamyali, undersecretary of the north’s ‘foreign ministry’, denied the allegations to the Cyprus Mail¸ saying “Nothing has started yet. We have a project ready to increase capacity at the Ayios Dhometios crossing point, so people can cross quicker.”
“The issue is being discussed at the bicommunal technical committee for crossing points, and no work has started yet,” he added.
Additionally, a spokesperson for the north’s ‘public works ministry’ said they had “no knowledge” of any works being undertaken in the buffer zone.
Source: Cyprus Mail