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Turkey slams ‘unacceptable’ UN approach to Cyprus row

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Turkey’s ruling party spokesman on Saturday criticized UN peacekeepers for blocking the construction of a controversial road in the buffer zone dividing Cyprus, calling their attitude “unacceptable” and “extremely wrong,” Agence France-Presse reported.

A confrontation occurred on Friday between Turkish Cypriot forces and UN peacekeepers in Pyla, an ethnically mixed village in the UN-patrolled area between the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus in the south and a breakaway Turkish Cypriot statelet in the north.

The UN mission on the east Mediterranean island said its peacekeepers were assaulted as they tried to block “unauthorised construction work” near Pyla, the only village where Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots live side by side.

Ömer Çelik, the spokesman for Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), defended the construction of the road and slammed the “unacceptable” attitude of the UN peacekeepers.

“The attitude of the UN peacekeeping force serving in Cyprus … was unacceptable and extremely wrong,” Çelik wrote on Twitter, now rebranded as X.

He said that attitude “aimed at pleasing the Greek Cypriot side has damaged the reputation” of the UN mission in Cyprus.

The authorities in the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC), which is recognized only by Turkey, had dismissed the UN mission’s allegations as “baseless.”

They said the project had a “humanitarian objective” that was “aimed at providing ease of access to KKTC territory for our citizens” living in the village.

Çelik said on Saturday that Turkey “fully supports” the KKTC, and called on the UN mission to treat the Turkish Cypriots equally.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish forces occupied its northern third in response to a military coup sponsored by the junta then in power in Greece.

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