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Greek Cypriot Farmer Allegedly Shot by Turkish Soldiers

Cyprus United Nations Buffer Zone sign
Three Greek Cypriot men have alleged that Turkish soldiers shot at them in the buffer zone. One man was struck in the shoulder. Credit: Jpatokal/ wikimedia commons CC BY-SA 3.0

A Greek Cypriot farmer has alleged that he was shot by Turkish soldiers. According to Cypriot media sources, he was struck in the shoulder and is being treated in a hospital.

Two other Greek Cypriot men were with the farmer when the incident took place at around 15:00 local time on Sunday. The incident occurred in Potamia within the United Nations Buffer Zone on the island of Cyprus.

Turkish military officials in the north have refuted the claims. Instead, they have said that the three men were involved in a dispute between themselves which led to gunfire.

Greek Cypriot man claims he was shot by Turkish soldiers

According to the Cyprus-based Sigma Live TV station, the three Greek Cypriot men involved in the incident were in a pick-up truck in a restricted hunting area within the buffer zone, near Potamia. However, the area was not patrolled by UN peacekeepers at the time.

The three men were reportedly in the area to pick wild greens when members of the Turkish military opened fire on them. They were able to escape but one of them, a 39-year-old man, was hit by a round in the shoulder.

Police spokesman Christos Andreou said that the injured man was taken to hospital where he required surgery, but that his life is not in any danger.

UNFICYP does not confirm

The exact details of the incident remain unclear and different versions have been told by the Greek Cypriot men and the Turkish Cypriot authorities in the North.

On Monday, Greek Cypriot Foreign Ministry spokesman Dimitris Demetriou said that the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) “does not confirm that the shooting came from a camp of the occupation army. Therefore, the Cyprus Police in cooperation with the United Nations are investigating the incident, so that we know the real reasons, the real circumstances under which it took place”.

According to reports in Kibris Postasi, a daily newspaper and news website in Northern Cyprus, Turkish military officials have dismissed the veracity of the version of events told by the three Greek Cypriot men.

“In the coordination of the military authorities with the United Nations Peacekeeping Force, it has been learned that the incident arose out of a land dispute between the Greek-Cypriots and they shot each other,” Turkish military officials told the newspaper.

The UN buffer zone

The buffer zone, also known as the “Green Line”, is operated by the UN and separates the island between the Republic of Cyprus in the south and the unrecognized Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in the North.

Cyprus has been divided since the Turkish invasion of 1974. The buffer zone extends approximately 180 km across the island, including through the capital, Nicosia.

Potamia, where the incident is said to have occurred nearby, is one of the few areas of settlement left in Cyprus where a mixed community of Greek and Turkish Cypriots continue to live side by side.

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