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19 May, 2024
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''Foreign Minister'' vows to proceed with controversial road project

Tahsin Ertugrologlu claims road is a humanitarian project; UN denies accusations of bias

Newsroom / CNA

Amid escalating tensions, Tahsin Ertugrologlu, the "foreign minister" of the occupied territories, remains adamant that the proposed road breaching the buffer zone is a humanitarian endeavor devoid of ulterior motives. In an appearance on a "Bayrak" broadcast, he expressed conviction that the UN is employing delay tactics to hinder the project while asserting that the road will be constructed.

The focal point of contention revolves around the enhancement of the road from Arsus to Pyla. Ertugrologlu contends that this undertaking aims to improve the lives of Turkish Cypriot (T/C) residents who he asserts have felt abandoned by the Greek Cypriots (G/C), the UN, and the British Bases. He asserted that this effort does not seek territorial gain, but rather serves as a human-centric initiative.

"The UN is playing with time. The peacekeeping force is not a friendly organization to the TCs." He resolved that the road project would proceed, asserting, "It's over."

Ertugrologlu remarked, "We've put together a road project to make it easier for Turkish people in Pyla to access the ''TRNC'' so they can meet their needs normally." Emphasizing adherence to the boundaries of British Bases' territory, he maintained that the road would be confined to areas they consider their own and those designated as buffer zones. In essence, he stated, "In a nutshell, we're paving an existing old road."

He recounted numerous attempts to clarify the humanitarian nature of the project to the UN, dispelling any military or territorial acquisition motives. Despite this, he contends that the UN persists in employing delay tactics to thwart its implementation.

Ertugrologlu further criticized the UN for its alleged favoritism toward the Greek Cypriots and its purported reluctance to engage in other infrastructural projects that traverse buffer zones or Turkish territories.

The "foreign minister" alleged that the UN Security Council's actions are heightening tensions, citing an example involving the Cetinqaya stadium in the Nicosia buffer zone. He claimed the UN made agreements disappear in this case.

Ertugrologlu noted that UN officials, including Colin Stewart, asked for additional time for the project, yet despite several months passing, no concrete agreement materialized. He revealed that a recent visit by Mr. Stuart did not yield a written proposal. In response to the verbal, unwritten thought expressed by Stuart, Ertugrologlu maintained that no formal consultations occurred. He underlined, "I reminded him that we do not have a military objective, nor do we want to occupy territory."

Criticizing the UN for what he perceives as its reluctance to support Turkish Cypriots, Ertugrologlu asserted, "The UN is playing with time. The peacekeeping force is not a friendly organization to the TCs." He resolved that the road project would proceed, asserting, "It's over."

Meanwhile, reports from Haber Kibris claim that "special operations" units intervened when UNFICYP personnel attempted to halt road construction work within the buffer zone. These units reportedly assumed control of the area.

In response, a "foreign ministry" statement from the occupied territories denounced UNFICYP's involvement in the road works, asserting that the UN's allegations of attacks on soldiers and vehicles are baseless. The statement contends that UNFICYP personnel attacked local "police" overseeing security and construction workers, contributing to the tension in the area.

Ertugrologlu demanded the UN reevaluate its purported biased stance and cease physical intervention and obstruction of the Arsos-Pyla road works. The statement called for equal treatment of Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots and restated the project's humanitarian focus, adding that the incident occurred on "TRNC" territory.

Cyprus  |  Turkey  |  problem  |  UN  |  buffer  |  zone

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