Cyprus Mail

Farmers told to leave fields in buffer zone spat

Greek Cypriot farmers working their land in the Nicosia buffer zone were asked by the UN to leave on Saturday morning after Turkish soldiers complained they were getting too close to their outposts, reports said.

According to Phileleftheros online, while four Greek Cypriot farmers were tending their fields located within the buffer zone, around 10 armed Turkish soldiers appeared on the embankment.

One of the farmers told the daily that soon after, they were asked by the UN to leave the area, as if they chose to remain there, they would do so at their own risk.

The incident reportedly took place in the buffer zone in the Sopaz area.

This was not the first time Turkish soldiers had interrupted their work, the farmer said, adding that they would contact the foreign ministry on Monday to resolve the matter.

He said that they are allowed to cultivate their land within the buffer zone, but that the UN maintain that they ought to stay 200 metres from the Turkish military outposts.

But police told the Cyprus Mail on Saturday that the incident concerned an elderly farmer who has been cultivating his land in the buffer zone for many years and who was not allowed entry on Saturday morning by a UN officer who did not know him. After the farmer returned with his necessary paperwork and permits, the problem was resolved, police said.

The UN were not immediately available for comment.


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