High tensions surround the Pile-Yiğitler Road Project, with the foreign ministries of Turkey and Northern Cyprus expressing their dissatisfaction with the recent United Nations Security Council (UNSC) statement.
The ongoing discord revolves around Northern Cyprus’s endeavor to connect the Pile and Yiğitler villages on the Green Line, an area under United Nations (UN) jurisdiction.
In a formal statement from the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the UNSC’s press release concerning the Pile-Yiğitler road, located within the buffer zone, was labeled as “completely disconnected from the realities on the ground.” The ministry contended, “The statement exacerbates the issue rather than contributing positively. The language used in describing the events of August 18 distorts facts and presents a misleading picture. We offer full support to the statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).”
Northern Cyprus Responds Northern Cyprus’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs also criticized the stance adopted by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). In a written statement, the ministry emphasized, “Like any sovereign nation, TRNC possesses the authority to undertake projects on its own territory that benefit its citizens. The UNSC’s call for the Pile-Yiğitler road project to be negotiated and executed by the concerned parties lacks consistency and fairness, especially considering the repeated violations within the buffer zone, primarily by the Greek Cypriot side, including the Pile village.”
The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs offered the following perspective in their release:
“The primary responsibility of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) is to maintain peace on the island. Nevertheless, during the tensions of August 18, 2023, UNFICYP sought to obstruct a project with purely humanitarian and non-military intentions, deploying troops and vehicles. A review of UN peacekeeping principles underscores the significance of securing consent from involved parties and maintaining impartiality. Despite UNFICYP’s failure to seek consent from the Turkish Cypriot side, its presence and activities persist in our country, thanks to our cooperative approach. The fact that nearly half of UNFICYP’s budget is financed by the Greek Cypriot Administration and Greece raises concerns about UNFICYP’s neutrality, highlighting its advocacy for one side, as evidenced by this incident.”
Reactions from President Erdoğan and Minister Fidan Following a cabinet meeting on August 21, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan asserted, “The intervention by the UN Peacekeeping Force into the sovereign territory of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is unacceptable.”
Minister Hulusi Akar echoed this sentiment, remarking, “We wholeheartedly stand behind the TRNC in all areas. We are diligently working to secure global recognition for the just cause of the Turkish Cypriots. This incident underscores that some of the UN’s practices are inconsistent with its founding principles. We believe the UN has forfeited its neutrality in this situation.”
Background Context The Pile-Yiğitler Road Project initiated by the Northern Cyprus government, aimed at connecting the Pile village and Yiğitler village along the Green Line, a region under United Nations administration, has ignited tensions involving the UN, South Cyprus, and Northern Cyprus. The UNSC categorized the unauthorized construction within the buffer zone as a “violation” on Monday and denounced attacks on UN Peacekeeping Force personnel.
In a statement issued by the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) last Friday, it was clarified that the incident unfolded in the buffer zone near Pile, as UNFICYP personnel sought to prevent unauthorized construction activities in the area. The attack was attributed to individuals from the Turkish Cypriot side. The statement underscored that threats against UN personnel’s security and damage to UN property are unacceptable, representing a serious breach of international law, subject to full prosecution.