NICOSIA – Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots weary of the island being split since 1974 Turkish invasions that seized the northern third are pushing for reunification and for more crossing points across the dividing line.
Groups of them joined near one of the major spots to move between the two sides on Ledra Street in the capital Nicosia, demanding more checkpoints and faster processing to cross.
The event marked the 20th anniversary of the opening of the first crossing in April 2003 and the partial lifting of restrictions on movement, The Cyprus Mail reported, noting marches starting from both sides.
The rally, supported by approximately 110 political parties and organisations, was attended by political leaders from both sides although the Turkish-Cypriot self-declared republic is accepted in the world by Turkey.
Protesters chanted slogans in favour of peace and a resolution to the Cyprus problem and presented a resolution to the United Nations, which has failed for decades to broker an answer.
The complaints said that the procedures to cross between the sides was cumbersome and time-consuming and that there’s not enough spots for people to move across the line.
Christina Valanidou, a member of the Intercommunal Peace Initiative ‘United Cyprus said the crossing points should be more accessible to people, calling for the end of bureaucratic obstacles.
“This situation that followed the opening of the checkpoints proved that the two communities can live together without problems,” she said, no word of an initial response from either side.
The last round of talks aimed at reunification fell apart in July, 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana after Turkey and the Turkish-Cypriot side a 35,000-strong standing army would never be removed and their demands for further military intervention – invasion – when they wanted.
In October, 2020, a moderate Turkish-Cypriot leader, Mustafa Akinci, was replaced by nationalist hardliner Ersin Tatar, who said he doesn’t want reunification, only acceptance by the UN and world, which was ignored.