Cyprus Mail

Anastasiades says barbed wire necessary barrier to Turkish strategy

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The barbed wire along the buffer zone

President Nicos Anastasiades weighed in on the placement of barbed wire along parts of the buffer zone on Monday, saying that it is a necessary barrier to Turkey’s strategy.

Earlier this month, the interior ministry installed barbed wire along rural sections of the buffer zone in Nicosia to deter the uncontrolled crossing by irregular migrants.

“The worst and most dangerous [part of Turkey’s strategy] is that of the daily arrivals only five or six are mothers or children,” he said, “the rest are of fighting age, of Syrian origin.”

Speaking to the press after visiting Eleftheria Square to review the project’s facelift, Anastasiades emphasised that the barrier in Astromeritis does not constitute the delineation of the country’s borders.

“It is a barrier to the expansion of Turkey’s strategy that in other cases has been demonstrated by air, such as in Libya and in Nagorno-Karabakh,” Anastasiades said.

He also claimed that part Turkey’s strategy on Cyprus is to alter the Republic’s demographics via increased migratory flows while also harming the economy.

The government has consistently stressed that Cyprus has been receiving the biggest flow of migrants in the EU in proportion to its population.

But the installation of the barbed wire appears to have caught many locals off-guard and led to strong reactions from some in the community.

Asked about their concerns, Anastasiades said: “I am not aware as to how many residents have reacted [but] if any problems whatsoever are being caused then they will be resolved.”

Local farmers hit out earlier this month, saying that their livelihoods may be at risk as the barbed wire cut them off from their fields and other property.

Others have criticised the barbed wire fence as entrenching divisions between north and south, while activists on Saturday night symbolically cut through a section of the barrier.

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