A Greek Cypriot farmer who had gone into the buffer zone to tend his crops said he had been approached by armed Turkish soldiers, who threatened to kill him if he did not leave. There have been similar incidents in the buffer zone near Denia a while back which were, presumably resolved.
Greek Cypriot political parties all condemned the unacceptable action of the Turkish military and criticized Unficyp for not offering adequate protection to the farmers and for allegedly, failing to respond immediately. The government was urged to make its protest to Unficyp with ‘particular strictness,’ while Elam censured the parties for taking more than a day to take a stand against the Turkish ‘provocation’.
Fearing it would be accused of allowing the provocation to go without a response, the government spokesman, Marios Pelekanos, on Wednesday said that it would report the incident of the harassment of the Greek Cypriot farmer to the European Union. All cases in which the UN Security Council resolutions and the buffer zone were violated were reported, said Pelekanos.
This was very much a case of the government wanting to be seen to be doing something, about something it could do not do very much. Was it seriously suggesting that the EU would show the slightest bit of interest in the harassment of a farmer in the buffer zone, at a time when there is the real danger of a Russian attack on the Ukraine? But why would the EU care, even if the threat of war in the Ukraine did not exist, about some ridiculously trivial incident in Cyprus?
This total lack of perspective, which is fueled by the parties and the media is embarrassing when we consider the death and suffering experienced in so many countries of the world. The very idea, delivered in all seriousness, that the EU and UN should deal with this incident, could only be taken as satire by anyone outside Cyprus.
Pelekanos, answering journalists, said “as the UN informed us, we expect the incident to be included in the next report prepared by Unficyp.” And what if it is included? Would this change anything in Cyprus? Of course, it will not, but the government, which has failed completely on the Cyprus issue needs to pretend that it is doing something. Thanks to its bad choices, miscalculations and arrogance, it has contributed to all but finalising partition, but it has not given up the fight to have Turkey’s provocations included in Unficyp’s report.