A Greek Cypriot farmer is claiming to have been shot by Turkish occupying forces in the land between the Turkish held north and Cypriot government held south. The man was shot in the shoulder and is currently recovering in the hospital. The Turkish military refutes the claim, however, stating the man was shot by a compatriot during a dispute.
The farmer was with two other men who were uninjured when the shooting occurred around 15:00 local time on Sunday February 4th. The three claim to have been picking asparagus and other wild greens in Potamia within a restricted hunting zone in the United Nations Buffer Zone on the island of Cyprus. The men were in a pickup truck when the shooting occurred and had entered the area when it was not being patrolled by UN Peacekeeping forces.
The Greek Cypriot Foreign Ministry spokesman, Dimitris Demetriou spoke last Monday, saying that the UN Peacekeeping forces “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”.
The three men were able to escape, however one farmer, a 39 year old man, was shot in the shoulder and taken to the hospital. Police spokesman Christos Andreou said in a statement that the man is in stable condition after surgery.
According to reports in Kibris Postasi, a Turkish daily newspaper in Northern Cyprus, Turkish forces have denied any involvement. Military officials told Postasi “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.”
The United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus have not confirmed either side of the story.
The Buffer Zone, also known as the Green Line or the Attila Line, was founded near the end of 1963 and later extended further in 1974 to mark the end of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus. The Turkish military has fortified the Northern line of the wall with concrete barricades, barbed wire, and minefields. The line also separates the city of Nicosia into a Northern and Southern section.
The Green Line has seen many cases of both Governmental and political brutality including the killings of two protestors, Tassos Isaac and Solomos Solomou who protested for the complete removal of Turkish forces in 1996.