Turkish Cypriot media has reported a Greek Cypriot influx in the occupied northern parts of Cyprus. There has been a record number of arrivals of Greek Cypriots through the checkpoints. The numbers overshadow the significance of Ercan (Tymbou) airport.
According to reports, in the first half of 2023, arrivals by flight reached 779,000, whereas the number of people crossing through the checkpoints stood at 2,428,000. This figure excludes the Occupied Northern Cyprus citizens.
These statistics demonstrate that the checkpoints have now eclipsed both the airport and the ports in importance. Media reported a 21.54 percent increase in activity at the crossing points during the first eight months of 2023 compared to the previous year.
Foreigners accounted for a substantial portion of the overall crossings into Northern Cyprus, totaling 3,492,726. Of these, Greek Cypriots alone amounted to 2,043,555.
British and Greek travelers also comprised a significant portion of those crossing. As reported, business owners in the northern part of Nicosia have been quick to recognize the boost in business brought about by this increase in traffic. This has prompted calls for the government to open more checkpoints.
Cyprus President Urged Erdogan to Collaborate for Peace
In September, Cyprus President Nikos Christodoulides urged Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan to collaborate on promoting peace in Cyprus and Turkey during his UN General Assembly address. He emphasized the importance of dialogue and adherence to international legality, urging both leaders to work together for a brighter future.
Christodoulides referenced long-standing conflicts in Cyprus, including the opening of Varosha, provocations in the exclusive economic zone, and attacks on UN peacekeepers, stressing the need for negotiations to address the Cyprus problem.
He called the resumption of negotiations his top priority, emphasizing that the current status quo cannot be the future. Christodoulides urged the UN to play a more active role in facilitating peace talks, including appointing a special envoy for the Cyprus problem.
President Erdogan, in his UN address, called for recognition of the de facto state of Northern Cyprus. Christodoulides remained committed to negotiating a settlement that safeguards the rights of all Cypriots. He also highlighted the EU’s role in fostering reunification and peace in Cyprus.
Greek Cypriot Farmer Claimed He Was Shot by Turkish Soldiers
In February 2023, a Greek Cypriot farmer alleged that he was shot by Turkish soldiers within the United Nations Buffer Zone. The area was not being patrolled by UN peacekeepers at that time. According to the farmer’s account, they were in the area to gather wild greens when Turkish military personnel fired upon them. While the trio managed to escape, the 39-year-old farmer sustained a gunshot wound to his shoulder.
Police spokesman Christos Andreou confirmed that the injured man received medical treatment, including surgery, but fortunately, his life was not in jeopardy. Turkish military officials disputed the claims, suggesting that the shooting arose from a dispute among the men themselves.