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Farmers protest along buffer zone

Cyprus has moved away from being an agrarian society

FARMERS on Saturday held a peaceful protest at the Astromeritis crossing point against the encroachment of Turkish troops in the buffer zone that prevents them from cultivating their land.

Dozens of farmers in their tractors assembled in the area and drove to the crossing point where they handed a resolution to a United Nations representative.

The farmers complained that Turkish troops had moved in to occupy land in the buffer zone following the removal of minefields.

The land, which belongs to Greek Cypriots, was now being used by Turkish Cypriots and settlers from Turkey.

Farmers said it had been agreed that following the removal of mines in the buffer zone they would be allowed to cultivate the land up to 200 metres from the Turkish guard post.

The buffer zone was put under the control of the UN following the Turkish invasion in 1974.

The farmers asked the UN to secure their right to freely cultivate their land.

They added that their main aim was “a fair and viable solution, which ensures that each Cypriot will plough the land that gave birth to them and together, Greek and Turkish Cypriots, Maronites, Armenians, and Latins, will feed the people in a united country with a united economy.”

It is not the first time that Turkish forces move forward from the ceasefire line.

On June 30, 2000, Turkish troops violated the status quo in Strovilia, a small village inhabited by Greek Cypriots in the Famagusta district, and have refused to go back despite repeated calls from the UN.





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