ΝΙCOSIA – The leader of a Cypriot village that isn’t slated to be compensated under a government plan to develop a remote promontory threatened to dig up nests of protected turtles unless it is.
Yiangos Tsivikos, leader of the Ineia community in the Akamas region in the west of the Mediterranean island, posted a video on YouTube claiming the next markings were fake and daring authorities to stop him.
“Residents are ready for war,” Tsivikos said in a taunt warning he would go to the nearby Laras Beach to carry out his threat, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP) about the beef with the state.
The fisheries department warned Akamas residents that Cyprus sea turtles and their eggs have been protected by law since 1971 and conservationists estimate the number of turtle nests in Lara at around 2,000.
Akamas residents have been protesting over the government’s Akamas development plan which they claim prevents them from commercially exploiting their land and that they wouldn’t get paid, the report added.
Environmentalists also oppose the plan, saying it endangers the eastern Mediterranean island’s nature reserve, home to unique fauna and endangered species that grow in an area that’s difficult to access.
Agriculture Minister Costas Kadis said residents and landowners in Ineia were being unfairly affected. “Akamas should be preserved, but on the other hand, the area’s residents should not suffer,” he added.
Protection of the turtles’ habitat, the Lara-Toxeftra Akamas area, was secured in 1989. “Sea turtles are included in the Barcelona Convention for specially protected areas, and biological diversity of the Mediterranean ratified by Cyprus in 2001,” the fisheries department also said.
“They are also protected by the EU Habitats Directive, transferred into national legislation in 2003,” it said, adding that actions to destroy or try to destroy turtle nests or eggs are prohibited, also said AFP.