Construction works on the Pile – Yiğitler road, aimed at providing ease of access to TRNC territory for our citizens living in the village of Pile, have commenced on 17 August 2023. It is amply clear that this road project has a purely humanitarian objective. Despite this, today, with a view to block the road works, UNFICYP military personnel have physically assaulted within the TRNC territory, our road construction teams as well as our police, who are present in the area only to provide safety. This stance displayed by UNFICYP is unacceptable.

In the statements made by UNFICYP and other parties, the events which took place are distorted and it is claimed that UN peacekeepers and vehicles were “assaulted”. These claims are baseless. Aside from the construction team, the only personnel on the ground are the Turkish Cypriot police, who are tasked with ensuring their safety. The tensions that took place in the area were caused by the stance of the UN soldiers and personnel, as well as the physical assault and blockages they targeted towards our police protecting our construction team.

In more than 25 years, the Turkish Cypriot party has displayed a constructive attitude and made multiple calls regarding the Pile-Yiğitler road project. However, necessary steps have not been taken to ease the daily lives of our citizens residing in Pile and our goodwill has not been reciprocated. For these reasons, the Turkish Cypriot side, as the co-owner of the island, has decided to start the necessary works towards the completion of the Pile – Yiğitler road, after informing UNFICYP.

On the other hand, despite all the objections and protests of the Turkish Cypriot side, UNFICYP had chosen to remain silent and permitted the construction of the Larnaca – Dhekelia – Ayia Napa road, which was built by Greek Cypriots in 1996 by deliberately expropriating Turkish Cypriot properties, as well as the construction of the Pile-Oroklini road in 2004. The biased and unacceptable attitude displayed by UNFICYP today towards the Turkish Cypriot side not only brings into question the presence of UNFICYP in our country, but also damages the reputation and credibility of the United Nations.

Our expectation from UNFICYP, which owes its presence and operations in the TRNC to the good will of the Turkish Cypriot side, is to review its biased stance, put an immediate end to its physical interferences and blockage efforts of our Pile- Yiğitler road works, and to adopt an approach of maintaining an equal distance to Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots, both in words and in action.