Turkey condemns UN Peacekeepers' intervention in Turkish Cypriot roadworks

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Aug. 21 expressed his disapproval of the direct involvement of United Nations peacekeepers in preventing Turkish Cypriots' roadwork last week. The same day, the members of the Security Council condemned the "assaults against UN peacekeepers and damage to UN vehicles by Turkish Cypriot personnel."

Reuters & Duvar English

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Aug. 22 said that the physical intervention of United Nations peacekeepers during roadworks in the south of ethnically split Cyprus last week is unacceptable.

"The physical intervention of U.N. Peacekeeping Force soldiers on the territory that falls under the sovereignty of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) is never acceptable to us," Erdoğan said following the weekly cabinet meeting.

"It is neither legal nor humane to prevent Turkish Cypriots living in Pyla village from reaching their homeland."

Scuffles broke out on Aug. 18 between U.N. peacekeepers and Turkish Cypriot security personnel when peacekeepers tried to prevent roadworks starting in an area the U.N. says is part of a buffer zone under its jurisdiction.

Erdoğan also said Turkey will continue to side with the TRNC, a breakaway state recognized only by Ankara.

Turkish Cypriot authorities want to build a road that would give residents of Pyla/Pile, a village in the U.N.-administered buffer zone, direct access to territory under Turkish Cypriot control.

Turkish Cypriot authorities say the peacekeeping force, known as UNFICYP, overstepped its boundaries. Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar characterized the road project as essential.

UN Security Council condemns assaults against UN peacekeepers

The UN Security Council (UNSC) members on Aug. 21 denounced the "assaults on UN peacekeepers and the damage to UN vehicles" carried out by Turkish Cypriot personnel during "the unauthorized construction work."

The Council highlighted that such acts against peacekeepers could potentially qualify as violations of international law and restated their unwavering dedication to the safety and protection of all UN staff members.

Furthermore, the UNSC communicated the suspension of construction by the Turkish Cypriot faction, along with the withdrawal of equipment and personnel despite the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot media claims.

On the other hand, Turkish Foreign Ministry on Aug. 22 released a statement against the UNSC's press release and describe it as "divorced from the realities on the ground."

The ministry stated that the council "distorted the facts and misleadingly reflects what happened" in the statement and "endangered both its own personnel and all workers involved in the road construction."

"UNFICYP is obligated to treat the two sides on the Island equally and to act impartially. Unfortunately, developments such as the incident on 18 August indicate that UNFICYP is losing the trust of the Turkish Cypriots and becoming part of the problem in Cyprus," the ministry stated.