Greek Cypriots want to make Pile a Greek village, but the Turkish Cypriots will not allow this, vowed the president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) on Monday, APA reports.
“The aim of the Greek Cypriots is to make Pile a complete Greek village. This is their aim and purpose,” Ersin Tatar told Anadolu after the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) tried to block construction of the the Pile-Yigitler road in Northern Cyprus.
Efforts to block the road construction are meant “to make life difficult for the Turks in Pile forcing them to migrate to Lefkosa and Gazimagusa,” Tatar added. “To give the Turks in Pile the impression that the state has forgotten them.”
Tatar said that roads from Pile to Larnaca, which is under the control of the Greek Cypriot administration, passed through the buffer zone. “Construction activities were carried out in the buffer zone and a university was established. How is this happening? There are some developments there without an agreement.”
New road to shorten travel time
He said the existing road connecting Pile to the TRNC town of Beyarmudu should take 10 minutes to cross, but traffic and customs checks lengthen this time to an hour.
Even patients who want to come to TRNC from Pile for medical treatment lose time at the customs gate, he said.
For this reason, the Pile-Yigitler road project was commenced, Tatar said.
Turkish Cypriots living in Pile have been saying: “You have forgotten us,” he said.
“We have struggled diplomatically for 25 years for the construction of this road and to provide services to our own citizens. The UN has stalled us for 25 years,” he added.
Calling Friday's skirmish between UN peacekeepers and Turkish Cypriot police, Tatar said: “There is an authority here. This authority has police and military. We cannot allow them to show the territory of the TRNC within the Green Line.”
Pointing out that they will eventually complete the road construction from Yigitler to Pile, Tatar said that they hope that the problem will be resolved through diplomatic means.
Tatar’s remark came after the UN peacekeeping force tried to block road construction work to link the Turkish Cypriot village of Pile in the buffer zone with the rest of the TRNC.
The road expansion is strategically important for residents as it will give them more options to reach Pile, where Turks and Greek Cypriots live together.
The Greek Cypriot Administration and the UN are opposed to the project.
Residents of Pile will be able to travel shorter distances and will not have to pass through British bases when crossing to the Turkish side as a result of the 11.6-kilometer (7.2-mile) construction and repair work.
The first 7.5 kilometers (4.7 miles) of the road will pass through Yigitler, and the second 4.1 kilometers (2.5 miles) will pass through Pile.