Disagreement in Cyprus over border crossing dispute perpetuates

Disagreement in Cyprus over border crossing dispute perpetuates
A+ A-
Turkish and Greek Cypriot sides clash over territorial works in the bi-communal Pyla.

By Nikolaos Stelgias

Tensions have again arisen in the bi-communal village of Pyla (Pile in Turkish) in Cyprus, as disagreements over border gate implementation have surfaced. Despite recent assertions of an agreement being reached concerning a new border gate connecting the village to the north, significant issues have arisen while executing the agreement's terms.

The Greek Cypriot side initiated "parceling" works on the northern slopes of Pyla, a move that has drawn the ire of the Turkish Cypriot side. In response, the unrecognized Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) lodged an objection alleging that the Greek side is carrying out works on territory belonging to the Turkish Cypriot side. This complaint was first conveyed to the United Nations (UN) and other intermediaries through diplomatic channels and was later voiced by the military units stationed at the TRNC-Pyla border.

After these developments, consultations were held between military authorities and the UN. The Greek Cypriot side then temporarily halted its work in the region. Simultaneously, Turkish Cypriot press members were prohibited from crossing from the north to the village.

In light of the escalating tension, TRNC President Ersin Tatar held a phone call with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. However, the details of the call were not made public.

Through President Nikos Chrysotodoulides, the Greek Cypriot side confirmed the UN's request for a pause in construction works in the Pyla region. Chrysotodoulides further accused the Turkish side of challenging the status of the buffer zone.

In response to the growing tension, the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) spokesperson, Aleem Siddique, through the Cyprus News Agency, stated that the situation in the village remained calm.

The current issue in Pile is rooted in the Turkish Cypriot side's attempt to open a new border crossing connecting the island's northern part to Pyla. This initiative resulted in a standoff between the TRNC authorities and the UN. Following this, negotiations between the Turkish side, the UN, and the Greek Cypriot side commenced, culminating in the UN's announcement of an agreement on Pile.

Despite this, the TRNC Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that a final agreement is yet to be reached concerning the new border crossing. Furthermore, it alleged that the Greek Cypriot side was carrying out works on Turkish Cypriot-controlled territory in Pyla.