Cyprus Mail

Grain growers seeking arrest warrants over Deneia ‘crop-stealing’

Unficyp soldiers monitoring events in the Deneia buffer zone

The Pancyprian Organisation of Grain Producers (POS) has called on the government to issue arrest warrants against the Turkish Cypriot farmers they have accused of illegally harvesting Greek Cypriot crops in the Deneia buffer zone earlier this month.

In a letter to ministers of foreign affairs, interior, justice and the police chief, published by daily Phileleftheros on Wednesday, the organisation said they were “appalled by events in Deneia in the Nicosia district where Turkish Cypriot farmers illegally harvested crops from fields legally cultivated by Greek Cypriots”.

Similar incidents have taken place in other areas of the buffer zone, the letter said, with POS requesting authorities to take measures to protect farmers that legally cultivate land in such areas.

“We demand investigations into any offence that may have taken place by the Turkish Cypriot farmers in question during these provocations including theft […] and the subsequent issuance of arrest warrants on the offenders,” the letter said.

The latest reported incident took place at the beginning of June in Deneia when tensions rose after agricultural vehicles entered from the north side of the buffer zone and began harvesting a wheat crop sowed by Greek Cypriot farmers.

A number of famers, believed to be settlers, accompanied by unarmed Turkish armed forces began harvesting the crops with Greek Cypriot farmers who cultivate that land shouting at them.

Deneia community leader Christakis Panayiotou said at the time that the people attempting to harvest the crops were likely to be Turkish settlers as they mostly inhabit the neighbouring villages of the area, Avlona and Filia.

The foreign ministry said it was lodging representations with Unficyp over the incident with the peacekeeping force saying they were dealing with the situation.

Similar incidents were reported last November. At the time it was suggested but not confirmed that the Greek Cypriot farmers did not have permits and had begun cultivating too close to the Turkish ceasefire line, for which permits are not granted.

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