NICOSIA – The Green Line border separating Cyprus, with Turkish-Cypriots occupying the northern third since unlawful 1974 Turkish invasions has seven crossing points but needs more, demanded demonstrators on both sides.
Some 108 organizations, political parties, trade unions and NGOs marched on March 26 under a banner that said: ‘For Peace and a Solution Open All Roads!’” reported The Cyprus Mail.
“As people living in Cyprus, we suffer and are deeply concerned about our future due to the economic, social and political problems caused by the division of our island,” a joint statement by participating groups said.
Greek Cypriots gathered on Salaminos Street, near the Famagusta gate in Nicosia, Turkish Cypriots gathered in Kougioulou Park next to the Kyrenia gate, while some marched alongside each other towards the Orpheas spot on the line.
When they finished, they gave a resolution to a representative of the UN Peacekeeping Force calling for the opening of new crossing points, and resumption of reunification talks.
But that idea has been squealed by hardline Turkish-Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar who said it has failed for decades, the last round of talks in July, 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ending badly and he’s demanded two separate states.
That would bring recognition to the occupied territory where Turkey keeps 35,000 soldiers on the island and is isolated, the Greek-Cypriot side a member of the European Union that Turkey has been fruitlessly been trying to join since 2005..
The groups said they believed that confidence-building measures could still work although the leaders of both sides have no confidence in each other’s proposals and counter-offers.
But the demonstrators said that the measures “will strengthen the hand of the progressive organizations who are in favor of labor and peace, against all those forces which have an unrealistic separatist dream of a two-state solution”.
Both Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot marchers said that they “will continue fighting for a united Cyprus, without the presence of foreign troops and dividing lines,” although Turkish President Ersin Tatar said his country’s army will be there forever.
“We are now running out of patience,” the statement said about broken promises for more crossing spots that require those using cars to buy special insurance and have documents including passports.
“The way for the reunification of Nicosia and other parts of our island and the common future of the two communities passes through these streets,” they said. Stephanos Stephanou, General-Secretary of the AKEL Communist-affiliated party, told the paper that, “Our request is to open more crossings to help increase communication between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, but especially to give the message that we must not stop trying to resolve the Cyprus issue and that we must resume negotiations.”