Turkish soldiers were mobilized on Tuesday, in the Astromeritis area, west of the capital Nicosia, in the sight of a Greek Cypriot farmer who went to the Buffer Zone to do work, related to his agricultural activity in the area. The soldiers were intercepted by members of the UN peacekeeping force (UNFICYP) patrolling the area. According to the UN, no military violations seem to have taken place.
Astromeritis Community Council President, Aris Constantinou, told CNA that earlier today a Greek-Cypriot farmer, with the help of his father-in-law, was trying to repair agricultural machinery on land he has been cultivating for years inside the Buffer Zone when he saw Turkish soldiers moving towards him.
A United Nations peacekeeping vehicle, patrolling the area, intervened and stopped the course of the Turkish soldiers and the Greek Cypriot farmer was able to complete repair works in the machinery.
Constantinou said that this incident is of concern as no similar activity on the part of the Turkish forces in the area had been recorded so far, noting that outposts of the UN forces have long been removed from the area.
For his part, UNFICYP spokesman Aleem Siddique told CNA that the incident is being investigated, with early information indicating that "there were no military violations in this area."
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The UN-controlled Buffer zone is separating the northern, Turkish-occupied areas from the southern, government-controlled part of the country.