Turkey is reportedly reducing and withdrawing troops from the north to reinforce its units in the fight against the Kurdish PKK, Turkish Cypriot press reported on Thursday but Government Spokesman Nicos Christodoulides could not confirm, he said.
In an exclusive report under the front-page title: ‘Troops withdraw from Cyprus’ Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper citing sources said: “Due to the tension and clashes in Turkey, it is reducing and withdrawing a significant number of troops from Cyprus. This process is continuing for the last six months and it has been intensified in recent days”.
It said commando units in the areas of occupied Ayia Eirini and Myrtou were totally withdrawn. Also, the number of personnel in all military units in the north have been reduced and the numbers at several units including those on the ‘front line’ had been reduced by two thirds. All operations were carried out in secrecy, the paper said.
It added that Turkey was intensively fighting against the PKK in the southeast of the country.
The Greek Cypriot side estimates that Turkey had 35,000 to 40,000 troops in the north of the island.