UPDATE - Türkiye condemns UN peacekeeping force's intervention in Northern Cyprus road construction

UPDATE - Türkiye condemns UN peacekeeping force's intervention in Northern Cyprus road construction

Ankara invites UN Peacekeeping Force to refrain from actions, rhetoric that would overshadow mission it has been carrying out in Cyprus for nearly 60 years, says Foreign Ministry


By Seda Sevencan and Diyar Guldogan

ISTANBUL/ Türkiye on Saturday "strongly" condemned the UN Peacekeeping force's intervention in the construction of the Pile-Yigitler road in Northern Cyprus.

"We find unacceptable and strongly condemn the physical intervention yesterday by soldiers of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) in the sovereign territory of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) with the aim of preventing the construction of the Pile-Yigitler road," the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Türkiye fully supports the relevant statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the TRNC and the justified reaction of the TRNC authorities, it added.

The UN's stance on the Pile-Yigitler road, a humanitarian project to improve direct access for TRNC citizens from Pile village to their homeland, and its subsequent statements do not align with the impartial attitude expected from the peacekeeping force on the island, the ministry said.

It argued that the UN force contributed to escalating tensions, and presented itself as a victim in the situation on the ground, but expectations from the force are to address humanitarian needs on the island.

"It is inexplicable that despite this, the UN has for years turned a blind eye to the Greek Cypriot Administration’s faits accomplis in the Buffer Zone while preventing the Turkish Cypriots from meeting their justified humanitarian needs.

"This situation clearly demonstrates that the UN is not fulfilling its basic duties and functions such as approaching the two sides on the Island equally and finding solutions to disputes," the ministry added.

It urged the UN and its peacekeeping force to work to maintain the trust of the TRNC authorities and its people.

"As a Guarantor State, we invite the UN Peacekeeping Force to refrain from actions and rhetoric that would overshadow the mission it has been carrying out in Cyprus for nearly 60 years, to accord equal treatment to the two sides in Cyprus and to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the TRNC," it added.

- Biased attitude harming peace on island

Turkish parliament speaker Numan Kurtulmus also condemned the peacekeeping force that "illegally and forcibly" tried to prevent the TRNC from working on the Pile-Yigitler road.

"We support all kinds of work that the Turkish Cypriot State will do in its own territory, and we call on the UN peacekeeping force to immediately return from this biased attitude that harms the peace and tranquility environment on the island and to fulfill its main duty," Kurtulmus said on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.

Türkiye will continue to stand by the Turkish Cypriots, whose law and welfare it considers one of its most important duties, he added.

The statements came one day after the UN peacekeeping force intervened in road construction work to link the Turkish Cypriot village of Pile in the buffer zone with the rest of the TRNC.

The road expansion is strategically important for residents as it will give them more options to reach Pile, where Turks and Greek Cypriots live together.

The Greek Cypriot Administration and the UN are opposed to the project.

Residents of Pile will be able to travel 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) construction and repair work.

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

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