Turkey’s Erdogan condemns UN over clashes in south Cyprus

Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday that the physical intervention of United Nations peacekeepers during roadworks in the south of ethnically split Cyprus last week is unacceptable.

“The physical intervention of U.N. Peacekeeping Force soldiers on the territory that falls under the sovereignty of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) is never acceptable to us. It is neither legal nor humane to prevent Turkish Cypriots living in Pyla village from reaching their homeland,” Erdogan said.

“Due to these actions, which are incompatible with international law, the tension in the region has unfortunately escalated again. We certainly do not find this intervention in good faith in a period when we are trying to mutually strengthen relations with our neighbors and solve the problems between us,” he added.

“What is expected from the United Nations Peacekeeping Force is to act on its name and contribute to the humanitarian needs of all the peoples on the island instead of destabilizing the situation. It should be known that as a guarantor state, we will not consent to any fait-accompli or unlawfulness on the island, including the buffer zone,” Erdogan said.

Scuffles broke out on Friday between U.N. peacekeepers and Turkish Cypriot security personnel when peacekeepers tried to prevent roadworks starting in an area the U.N. says is part of a buffer zone under its jurisdiction.

Turkish Cypriot authorities want to build a road that would give residents of Pyla/Pile, a village in the U.N.-administered buffer zone, direct access to territory under Turkish Cypriot control.

Turkish Cypriot authorities say the peacekeeping force, known as UNFICYP, overstepped its boundaries.

Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar characterized the road project as essential.