DENIA, Cyprus – Residents of the village of Denia on Cyprus complained to the government and United Nations peacekeepers that Turkish-Cypriots came into a buffer zone and started cultivating land belonging to Greek-Cypriots.
Community leader Christakis Panayiotou told reporters that Cypriot farmers growing products in the buffer zone saw that tractors had arrived with a truck and started cultivating fields.
“We spoke to them, we notified the UN that asked them to leave,” he said, adding however that as soon as the peacekeepers left, they returned, this time escorted by Turkish soldiers and continued to work, The Cyprus Mail reported.
Panayiotou said he and the Greek-Cypriot farmers spoke to the Turkish-Cypriots who said they pay money to the authorities in the north that’s been occupied since an unlawful 1974 invasion, adding they got the approval to use the land.
He said both the UN and the Foreign Ministry warned against an overreaction or retaliation tactics. “We too agreed that we should be calm, not create tensions,” he said after the government said it would send officials there to mediate.
He said Cypriot farmers had cultivated those fields for the past five years with permission from the UN.