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Media Watch 2003

16 May 2003
Source: Cyprus Mail
Comment: The following article appeared in the Cyprus Mail of Nicosia on 16 May 2003 written by a Staff Reporter.
Turkish soldiers threaten Athienou farmers

TURKISH soldiers yesterday threatened two farmers at gunpoint in Athienou and forced them to leave their fields, which are situated on the edge of the buffer zone.

Athienou mayor Gavril Kazazis said the two farmers had, as always, secured permission from the United Nations before entering their fields.

“This morning, two farmers from the village went to collect their wheat on the edge of the buffer zone, after getting permission from the UN.

“At that moment, Turkish soldiers descended from their guard posts, crossed the ceasefire line and threatened to detain the farmers,” Kazazis said.

The mayor said the two were forced to leave, adding that there had been three or four similar cases in the past month.

Kazazis said the Turkish guard posts were quite far from the fields, noting that the Turks did not want the specific area to be cultivated.

“Maybe they’re trying to create tension, because the area has been cultivated for years, but this year they’ve been continuously creating trouble,” the mayor said.

Kazazis said the problem had already been reported to the foreign and interior ministries and it was now up to them to make moves to resolve the problem so that farmers could freely cultivate their land.

The whole village of Athienou is situated in the buffer zone, but farmers only need permission for the specific area, which is the most distant."