No: 203, 22 August 2023, Press Release Regarding the United Nations Security Council Press Statement on the Construction of the Pile-Yiğitler Road
The press statement issued by the United Nations Security Council on August 21, 2023 on the construction of the Pile-Yiğitler road in the territory of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) is completely divorced from the realities on the ground. Rather than making any positive contribution to the issue, the statement makes the process more difficult. The wording used regarding the events of 18 August distorts the facts and misleadingly reflects what happened. We fully support the statement made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the TRNC on this issue.
The construction of the Pile-Yiğitler road is a humanitarian project aiming to facilitate the direct access of TRNC citizens in the village of Pile to their own homeland. The notification regarding the road work was made well in advance. This being the case, the physical intervention by soldiers of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) in the road construction work was the cause of the tension. It will be recalled that this point was also emphasized in the recent statements of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the TRNC and our Ministry.
On August 18 UNFICYP, in violation of the territorial integrity of the TRNC, unfairly attempted to prevent the road project, endangering both its own personnel and all workers involved in the road construction. We regret that four UNFICYP personnel and eight TRNC citizens were injured as a result of UNFICYP’s irresponsible behavior and we wish them a speedy recovery.
UNFICYP was deployed to the Island of Cyprus in 1964, shortly after the Greek Cypriots hijacked the partnership state in 1963 and gave rise to the Cyprus issue. We assume that the call in the UN Security Council's press statement for the “removal of all unauthorized constructions” is also directed at the Greek Cypriot side, which over the years has built the Larnaca-Dhikelia-Ayia Napa road, which goes through Turkish Cypriot property situated in the buffer zone and the village of Pile, the Pile-Oroklini road which also goes through the buffer zone, the university building in Pile and numerous other constructions in violation of the buffer zone.
UNFICYP is obligated to treat the two sides on the Island equally and to act impartially. Unfortunately, developments such as the incident on 18 August indicate that UNFICYP is losing the trust of the Turkish Cypriots and becoming part of the problem in Cyprus. It is the duty of the UN Security Council to prevent this trend and to ensure that UNFICYP displays the impartiality expected of the United Nations Organization’s peacekeeping missions.
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