Northern Cypriot police say 8 officers injured in melee with UN peacekeepers

Northern Cypriot police say 8 officers injured in melee with UN peacekeepers

UN forces 'deliberately' parked their vehicles on Pile-Yigitler road and blocked access to area to prevent road construction work by failing to comply with security measures, say police

By Mehmet Kemal Firik

LEFKOSA, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (AA) – Northern Cypriot police confirmed on Saturday that eight officers were injured in a mayhem with UN peacekeepers over a parking argument on the UN-controlled Green Line that separates the island's northern and southern halves.

The mayhem between Northern Cypriot police officers and UN peacekeepers erupted around 9 a.m. (0600GMT) on Friday on the Pile-Yigitler road, which is being constructed and expanded, the General Directorate of Police in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) said in a statement.

The UN forces "deliberately" parked their vehicles on the road and blocked access to the area to prevent road construction work by failing to comply with security measures imposed by the General Directorate of Police, said the statement.

In the mayhem, eight police officers were injured and were taken to a nearby hospital, it said, adding that police officers were discharged from the hospital after receiving the necessary treatment.

- Importance of road construction work

The Pile-Yigitler road expansion is strategically important for the local people as it will give them more options for reaching Pile village, where Turks and Greek Cypriots live together.

Citizens of Beyarmudu town, the last crossing point from Turkish territory to Pile, have said that the road project, which is being prepared for the transition from Yigitler village to Pile without contacting the British bases and the Greek Cypriot Administration of Southern Cyprus, will benefit those living in border areas.

Guray Kafa, who owns a house on the Green Line, told Anadolu that he travels from the conflict zone to Beyarmudu for work on a daily basis, but that crossing from the Green Line to TRNC territory is difficult due to British bases.

Kafa claimed that the UN is deliberately obstructing the way to the village by providing no alternatives at the Beyarmudu Border Crossing to the UN-controlled Pile.

"When the road construction is finished, it will be very beneficial to the citizens. This road will not pass through British bases or Greek Cypriot territory, and there will be no British soldiers at the crossings," he asserted.

Emrah Eskimuhtaroglu, another resident of the region, also highlighted the project’s importance not only for the Pile residents but also for some Turkish Cypriots who have a house and land on the Green Line, pointing out the difficulty of crossing through the Beyarmudu Border Gate due to both traffic and British base areas.

"We can't go to Pile or other areas whenever we want," he lamented.

He criticized the UN peacekeepers for not allowing Turkish citizens and people who later became TRNC citizens to visit Pile.

Both the Greek Cypriot Administration and the UN are opposed to the Pile-Yigitler Road Project, which the TRNC began implementing on Thursday.

Residents of Pile will be able to use both shorter distances and will not have to pass through British bases when crossing to the Turkish side as a result of the 11.6 kilometers (7.2 miles) Pile-Yiitler road construction and repair work.

The first 7.5 kilometers (nearly 4.7 miles) of the road will pass through Yiitler, and the second 4.1 kilometers (more than 2.5 miles) will pass through Pile village.

*Writing by Merve Berker

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