Turkish Cypriot officials are dismissing reports in the south that said Greek Cypriot farmers were harassed by armed soldiers in the buffer zone last week, while a group of farmers were turned away again on Tuesday morning.
According to reports, Kudret Ozersay, who is in charge of foreign matters in the north, was quoted in Turkish Cypriot media saying the allegations were false and that news reports regarding Greek Cypriot farmers were fake news.
Sources said Ozersay had spoken with military officials and determined there had been “no tension” between Turkish soldiers and Greek Cypriot farmers, calling the news as “propaganda.”
Soldiers appeared on Tuesday and after consultations with the UN, it was decided that the farmers had to leave the area
Media in the south reported last week that a number of Greek Cypriot farmers had been provoked by Turkish military presence in the buffer zone in Denia, Nicosia, while details remained unclear over the incidents.
UNFICYP spokesperson Aleem Siddique told Knews that he was aware of one incident on Saturday morning, where a Greek Cypriot farmer walked into an area without authorisation and was asked to leave by UNFICYP personnel.
Ozersay said that about 15 to 20 Greek Cypriots had entered the buffer zone in Denia on Saturday, November 17, and came close to the position of Turkish soldiers. According to media in the north, Ozersay said the group included a priest, journalists and cameramen, who came near the soldiers and shouted slogans.
Siddique told Knews on Monday that he was not aware of any other incidents in the buffer zone except the Greek Cypriot man’s encounter with UNFICYP.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Demetris Samuel, said the government of the Republic of Cyprus was aware of a number of complaints by farmers who said they were harassed by Turkish soldiers.
No farmers had gone into the buffer zone on Monday while a group of them went with their tractors on Tuesday. Reports said after 15 minutes of working the land, soldiers appeared and after consultations with the UN, it was decided that the farmers had to leave the area.