By Ismet Özçelik
In order to prevent the Pile (Pyla)-Yiğitler (Arsos) Road Project, the United Nations Peacekeeping Force soldiers placed concrete blocks in the area where the project would start. The UN Peacekeeping Force soldiers, who wanted to hinder the Turkish officials and road construction vehicles, also parked their vehicles on Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) territory. TRNC security forces removed the UN vehicles from the area with bulldozers.
TRNC Foreign Minister Tahsin Ertuğruloğlu emphasized that they have no intention of any land grabbing from anywhere and stated, “There will be no turning back from the Pile-Yiğitler Road Project. We are facing a conspiracy. The United Nations should not try to prevent us. We will build this road. This is it. We will not step back from our determination.” Ertuğruloğlu also emphasized that the UN Peacekeeping Force is not a Turkish-friendly organization.
Following the tension in Pile, the United States, the United Nations and Greece together blamed the TRNC. US Senator Bob Menendez claimed that Turkish Cypriots had attacked UN peacekeepers in Pile and demanded an “immediate cease” to road work, which he claimed was “unauthorized“. The Greek press supported Menendez’s statements against the TRNC.
“United Nations officials are unfair”
The TRNC President Ersin Tatar evaluated the tension in Pile-Yiğitler Road Project for the Aydınlık newspaper. President Tatar said, “the UN officials were unfair to the Turks regarding the road construction in Pile-Yiğitler village”. Stating that the main purpose is to put the people living in the village in difficulty and force them to migrate, President Tatar emphasized that they will not tolerate this.
Double standards between Turks and Greeks
President Ersin Tatar criticized the double standard, stating “The Turks who live in Pile, which is located in the Green Line region, are experiencing serious problems, Greeks pass through here easily. But when Turks want to pass, the UN officials cause problems. UN officials are acting unjust.”
“They should not live their lands”
Emphasizing that the road was purely for humanitarian purposes, President Tatar stated “We aim to meet the needs of our citizens living here for cases like sickness or other problems. We are building an 11 km road. In fact, the main reason for the opposition to this road is that they want our citizens living here to continue to have problems and so leave their lands. We will not allow this. We definitely do not want our citizens living here to leave their lands. Furthermore, we will do everything to solve their problems. We will ensure that they can easily reach other parts of the TRNC.”
President Ersin Tatar stated that there were some scuffles during the incidents, but UN soldiers were sent, and that there remained a problem in a very small area in the buffer zone. President Tatar added that they would negotiate this issue.
Translated into English by Uwidata