United Nations Buffer Zone in Cyprus

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United Nations Buffer Zone in Cyprus
Emblem of the United Nations.svg
GreenLine BufferZone Large.JPG
The Buffer Zone in Nicosia
Formation1974
Type Demilitarized zone
Parent organization
United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus

The United Nations Buffer Zone in Cyprus is a demilitarized zone, patrolled by the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), that was established in 1964 and extended in 1974 after the ceasefire of 16 August 1974, following the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, and the de facto partition of the island into the area controlled by the Republic of Cyprus (southern Cyprus save for the British Sovereign Base Areas) and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in the North. The zone, also known as the Green Line (Greek : Πράσινη Γραμμή, Prasini Grammi; Turkish : Yeşil Hat), stretches for 180 kilometres (112 miles) from Paralimni in the east to Kato Pyrgos in the west, where a separate section surrounds Kokkina. The zone cuts through the centre of Nicosia, separating the city into southern and northern sections. In total, it spans an area of 346 square kilometres (134 sq mi), varying in width from less than 20 metres (66 ft) to more than 7 kilometres (4.3 mi). [1] [2] [3]

Demilitarized zone Area in which agreements between military powers forbid military activities

A demilitarized zone, DMZ or DZ is an area in which treaties or agreements between nations, military powers or contending groups forbid military installations, activities or personnel. A DMZ often lies along an established frontier or boundary between two or more military powers or alliances. A DMZ may sometimes form a de facto international border, such as the 38th parallel between North and South Korea. Other examples of demilitarized zones are a 120-mile (190 km) wide area between Iraq and Kuwait, Antarctica and outer space.

United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus United Nations peacekeeping force

The United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) is a United Nations peacekeeping force that was established under United Nations Security Council Resolution 186 in 1964 to prevent a recurrence of fighting following intercommunal violence between the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, to contribute to the maintenance and restoration of law and order and to facilitate a return to normal conditions. The current force commander is Major General Cheryl Pearce, AM (Australia), (UNFICYP) Force Commander of United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus.

Turkish invasion of Cyprus 1974 military conflict in Cyprus

The Turkish invasion of Cyprus, code-named by Turkey as Operation Attila, was a Turkish military invasion of the island country of Cyprus. It was launched on 20 July 1974, following the Cypriot coup d'état on 15 July 1974.

Contents

The line is also referred to as the Attila Line, [4] named after the Turkish code-name for the 1974 military intervention: Operation Atilla. Turkish forces built a barrier on the zone's northern side, consisting mainly of barbed-wire fencing, concrete wall segments, watchtowers, anti-tank ditches, and minefields.

Some 10,000 people live in several villages and work on farms located within the zone; the village of Pyla is famous for being one of the few remaining villages in Cyprus where Greek and Turkish Cypriots still live side by side. Other villages are Deneia, Athienou and Troulloi. Some areas are untouched by human interference and have remained a safe haven for flora and fauna. [2]

Pyla Place in Larnaca District, Cyprus

Pyla is a village in Larnaca District, Cyprus. It is one of only four villages located within the United Nations Buffer Zone, the other three being Athienou, Troulloi and Deneia. Pyla is located in the eastern part of the island, adjacent to the British Sovereign Base Area of Dhekelia. From a legal point of view, it is administered as all other areas controlled by the government of the Republic of Cyprus.

Deneia village in Nicosia District, Cyprus

Deneia is a village in the Nicosia District of Cyprus, west of Mammari. It is one of only four villages located within the United Nations Buffer Zone, the other three being Pyla, Athienou and Troulloi.

Athienou Place in Larnaca District, Cyprus

Athienou is a village in Larnaca District, Cyprus. It is one of only four villages located within the United Nations Buffer Zone, the other three being Pyla, Troulloi and Deneia. Today, Athienou has a population of around 5,000 people and since 1990 has been home to Davidson College's Athienou Archaeological Project. The town's city hall includes a museum of local history and culture that was established in 2008.

History

View from the Turkish side to the Greek Cypriot side at Uray sk, next to the Turkish Public Market Green Line near Paphos Gate.JPG
View from the Turkish side to the Greek Cypriot side at Uray sk, next to the Turkish Public Market

A buffer zone in Cyprus was first established in 1964, when Major-General Peter Young was the commander of the British peace force (a predecessor of the present UN force) set up in the wake of the inter-communal violence of the early 1960s. After stationing his troops in different areas of Nicosia, the general drew a cease-fire line on a map with a green chinagraph pencil, which was to become known as the "Green Line". [5] It later transpired that the map General Young was using had been borrowed from Major Bill Garbutt of the 14th/20th King's Hussars, whose clerk, Lance Corporal Arnie Greenwood, had marked the ceasefire line on the map with the only coloured writing instrument that he had, which happened to be green.

Major General Peter George Francis Young CB CBE was a senior British Army officer who served in World War II and later was General Officer Commanding (GOC) Cyprus District from 1962 to 1964.

The Green Line became impassable following the July 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus during which Turkey captured approximately 37% of Cypriot territory, in response to a short-lived Greek Cypriot coup. A "security zone" was established after the Tripartite Conference of Geneva in July 1974. Pursuant to United Nations Security Council Resolution 353 of 1974, [6] the foreign ministers of Greece, Turkey, and the United Kingdom convened in Geneva on 25 July 1974. According to UNFICYP, the text of the joint declaration transmitted to the Secretary-General of the United Nations was as follows:

Geneva Large city in Switzerland

Geneva is the second-most populous city in Switzerland and the most populous city of Romandy, the French-speaking part of Switzerland. Situated where the Rhône exits Lake Geneva, it is the capital of the Republic and Canton of Geneva.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 353 United Nations Security Council resolution

United Nations Security Council Resolution 353, adopted unanimously on 20 July 1974, in response to the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, the Council demanded the immediate withdrawal of all foreign military personnel present in the Republic of Cyprus in contravention of paragraph 1 of the United Nations Charter. The resolution goes on to call upon Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom to immediately enter into negotiations to restore peace on the island, and constitution government to its people.

Secretary-General of the United Nations head of the United Nations Secretariat

The Secretary-General of the United Nations is the head of the United Nations Secretariat, one of the six principal organs of the United Nations. The Secretary-General serves as the chief administrative officer of the United Nations. The role of the United Nations Secretariat, and of the Secretary-General in particular, is laid out by Chapter XV of the United Nations Charter.

A security zone of a size to be determined by representatives of Greece, Turkey, and the United Kingdom, in consultation with UNFICYP, was to be established at the limit of the areas occupied by the Turkish armed forces. This zone was to be entered by no forces other than those of UNFICYP, which was to supervise the prohibition of entry. Pending the determination of the size and character of the security zone, the existing area between the two forces was not to be breached by any forces.

Tripartite Conference & Geneva Declaration, [7]

The UN Security Council then adopted the above declaration with Resolution 355. When the coup dissolved, the Turkish Armed Forces advanced to capture approximately 37% of the island and met the "Green Line". The meandering Buffer Zone marks the southernmost points that the Turkish troops occupied during the Turkish Invasion of Cyprus in August 1974, running between the ceasefire lines of the Cypriot National Guard and Turkish army that de facto divides Cyprus into two, cutting through the capital of Nicosia. With the self-proclamation of the internationally unrecognized "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus", the Buffer Zone became its de facto southern border.[ citation needed ]

United Nations Security Council Resolution 355, adopted on 1 August 1974, recalled its resolutions 186, 353 and 354, noted that all States have declared their respect for Cyprus' sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity and requested the Secretary-General take appropriate action with regard to a possible cease-fire and report back to the Council. The resolution was looking to implement an end to the conflict sparked by the Turkish invasion of Cyprus.

Turkish Armed Forces Combined military forces of Turkey

The Turkish Armed Forces are the military forces of the Republic of Turkey. They consist of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force. The Gendarmerie and the Coast Guard, both of which have law enforcement and military functions, operate as components of the internal security forces in peacetime, and are subordinate to the Ministry of Interior. In wartime, they are subordinate to the Army and Navy. The President of Turkey is the military's overall head.

Meander A sinuous bend in a series in the channel of a river

A meander is one of a series of regular sinuous curves, bends, loops, turns, or windings in the channel of a river, stream, or other watercourse. It is produced by a stream or river swinging from side to side as it flows across its floodplain or shifts its channel within a valley. A meander is produced by a stream or river as it erodes the sediments comprising an outer, concave bank and deposits this and other sediment downstream on an inner, convex bank which is typically a point bar. The result of sediments being eroded from the outside concave bank and their deposition on an inside convex bank is the formation of a sinuous course as a channel migrates back and forth across the down-valley axis of a floodplain. The zone within which a meandering stream shifts its channel across either its floodplain or valley floor from time to time is known as a meander belt. It typically ranges from 15 to 18 times the width of the channel. Over time, meanders migrate downstream, sometimes in such a short time as to create civil engineering problems for local municipalities attempting to maintain stable roads and bridges.

Traffic across the buffer zone was very limited until 2003, when the number of crossings and the rules governing them were relaxed.[ citation needed ]

Sectors

The UN buffer zone is shown in light blue on the map. Cyprus districts named.png
The UN buffer zone is shown in light blue on the map.

Sector One

Starts at Kokkina exclave and covers approximately 90 kilometres (55 mi) to Mammari, west of Nicosia. Since 16 October 1993, it has been the responsibility of the Argentinian Contingent with approximately 212 soldiers. Sector One Headquarters and Command Company are located in San Martin Camp, which is near Skouriotissa village. Support Company finds its home at Roca Camp, near Xeros in the north. The two line companies are deployed along four permanently manned patrol bases while also conducting mobile patrols from the San Martin and Roca camps. [8]

Sector Two

Starts at Mammari, west of Nicosia and covers 30 kilometres (20 mi) to Kaimakli, east of Nicosia. Since 1993, it has been the responsibility of the British contingent, which deploys using the name Operation TOSCA. [9]

Sector Four

Starting at Kaimakli, east of Nicosia and covers 65 kilometres (40 mi) to the village of Dherinia, on the east coast of Cyprus and has been the responsibility of the Slovakian contingent, with 202 soldiers. [10]

Crossings

Ledra Street, once cut by the Green Line in Nicosia Chypre-LigneVerte1.JPG
Ledra Street, once cut by the Green Line in Nicosia

After a nearly 30-year ban on crossings, the Turkish Cypriot administration significantly eased travel restrictions across the dividing line in April 2003, allowing Greek Cypriots to cross at the Ledra Palace Crossing just outside the walls of old Nicosia. This was only made possible after the decision of the ECHR (Djavit An vs Turkey, Application No.20652/92). [11]

These are the crossings now available:

Cyprus area under the control of the Republic of CyprusCyprus area under the control of Northern CyprusNotes
Astromeritis (Αστρομερίτης) Zodeia (Ζώδεια, Bostancı)By car only
Ayios Dhometios (Άγιος Δομέτιος) Metehan By foot and car
Ledra PalaceLedra PalaceBy foot only
Ledra Street (οδός Λήδρας, Lokmacı Caddesi) Ledra Street (οδός Λήδρας, Lokmacı Caddesi)By foot only
Pyla
(Πύλα, Pile)
Pergamos (Πέργαμoς, Beyarmudu)
Agios Nikolaos (Άγιος Νικόλαος) Strovilia (Akyar)Crossing point controls carried out by SBA police on the one side, and by the police of the de facto Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus on the other side
Limnitis (Λιμνίτης, Yeşilırmak) Limnitis (Λιμνίτης, Yeşilırmak)

Before Cypriot accession to the European Union, there were restrictions on Green Line crossings by foreigners imposed by the Republic of Cyprus, but these were abolished for EU citizens by EU regulation 866/2004. [12] Generally, citizens of any country are permitted to cross the line, including Greek and Turkish Cypriots. A 2005 EU report stated that "a systematic illegal route through the northern part to the government-controlled areas exists" allowing an influx of asylum seekers. [13]

Incidents

Tassos Isaac being killed Tasos Isaak murdered.jpg
Tassos Isaac being killed

In August 1996, Greek Cypriot refugees demonstrated with a march against the Turkish occupation of Cyprus. The demonstrators' demand was the complete withdrawal of Turkish troops and the return of Cypriot refugees to their homes and properties. Among the demonstrators was Tassos Isaac who was beaten to death. [14]

Another man, Solomos Solomou, was shot to death by Turkish troops during the same protests on 14 August 1996. [15] Aged 26, Solomou was one of many mourners who entered the Buffer Zone three days after Isaac's funeral, on 14 August to lay a wreath on the spot where he had been beaten to death. Solomou was fired upon by Turkish soldiers when he was climbing to a flagpole to remove the flag of Turkey. [16] An investigation by authorities of the Republic of Cyprus followed, and the suspects were named as Kenan Akin and Erdan Emanet. International legal proceedings were instigated and arrest warrants for both were issued via Interpol. [17]

During the demonstrations on 14 August 1996, two British soldiers were also shot by the Turkish forces: Neil Emery and Jeffrey Hudson, both from 39th Regiment Royal Artillery. Bombardier Emery was shot in his arm, whilst Gunner Hudson was shot in the leg by a high velocity rifle round and was airlifted to hospital in Nicosia then on to RAF Akrotiri.

Activism

The buffer zone between the checkpoints that divide Ledra Street was used as a space for activism from 15 October 2011 up until June 2012 by the Occupy Buffer Zone movement. [18]

See also

Related Research Articles

Kokkina Place in Nicosia District, Cyprus

Kokkina is a coastal exclave (pene-exclave) of the de facto Northern Cyprus, and a former Turkish Cypriot village and enclave in Cyprus. It is surrounded by mountainous territory, with the Morphou Bay on its northern flank. Kokkina sits several kilometres west of the Northern Cyprus mainland and is a place with symbolic significance to Turkish Cypriots, because of the events of August 1964. In 1976, all Kokkina inhabitants were transferred to Gialousa and the exclave has since functioned as a North Cyprus Defence Force military camp.

Ledra Palace Hotel

The Ledra Palace Hotel is located in central Nicosia, Cyprus, and until 1974 was one of the largest and most glamorous hotels of the capital. The hotel was designed by the German Jewish architect Benjamin Günsberg and was built between 1947-1949 by Cyprus Hotels Limited at a cost of approx £240,000 Cyprus pounds on what was then called King Edward VII Street, since 1962 Markos Drakos Avenue. The hotel opened on the 8th October 1949 in the presence of British Governor Sir Andrew Wright and Vice Mayor of Nicosia George Poulios. It originally had 94 bedrooms and 150 beds, officially rated as de luxe. All rooms had hot and cold water, central heating and a telephone. Facilities included a conference, reading, bridge and ballroom with orchestra. There were two restaurants, two bars and café. Located within the garden was a swimming pool, paddling pool, children's playground and tennis courts. The hotel had two additional floors added in 1967-1968, thus raising its capacity to 200 rooms and 320 beds.

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Strovilia is a small Cypriot village located at the border of the de facto Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) with the British Sovereign Base Area (SBA) of Dhekelia. It is the site of a Green Line crossing.

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United Nations Security Council Resolution 1032 United Nations Security Council resolution

United Nations Security Council resolution 1032, adopted unanimously on 19 December 1995, after recalling all resolutions on Cyprus, particularly resolutions 186 (1964) and 1000 (1995), the Council expressed concern at the lack of progress in the political dispute in Cyprus and extended the mandate of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) until 30 June 1996.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1062 United Nations Security Council resolution

United Nations Security Council resolution 1062, adopted unanimously on 28 June 1996, after recalling all resolutions on Cyprus, particularly resolutions 186 (1964), 939 (1994) and 1032 (1995), the Council expressed concern at the lack of progress in the political dispute in Cyprus and extended the mandate of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) until 31 December 1996.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1092 United Nations Security Council resolution

United Nations Security Council resolution 1092, adopted unanimously on 23 December 1996, after recalling all resolutions on Cyprus, particularly resolutions 186 (1964), 939 (1994) and 1062 (1996), the Council expressed concern at the deterioration of the political dispute in Cyprus and extended the mandate of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) until 30 June 1997.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1303 United Nations Security Council resolution

United Nations Security Council resolution 1303, adopted unanimously on 14 June 2000, after reaffirming all resolutions on the situation in Cyprus, including resolutions 1251 (1999) and 1283 (1999), the Council extended the mandate of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) for a further six months until 15 December 2000.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1930 United Nations Security Council resolution

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1930, adopted on June 15, 2010, after reaffirming all resolutions on the situation in Cyprus, particularly Resolution 1251 (1999), the Council extended the mandate of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) for a further six months until December 15, 2010 while negotiations towards a settlement of the dispute on the island were underway.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1953 United Nations Security Council resolution

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1953, adopted on December 14, 2010, after reaffirming all resolutions on the situation in Cyprus, particularly Resolution 1251 (1999), the Council extended the mandate of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) for a further six months until June 15, 2011, calling for Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders to develop a plan for overcoming differences before the Secretary-General visit in January 2011.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1642, adopted unanimously on 14 December 2005, after reaffirming all resolutions on the situation in Cyprus, particularly Resolution 1251 (1999), the Council extended the mandate of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) for an additional period until 15 June 2006.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1986, adopted unanimously on June 13, 2011, after reaffirming all resolutions on the situation in Cyprus, particularly resolutions 1251 (1999) and 1953 (2010), the Council extended the mandate of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) for a further six months until December 15, 2011, calling for an intensification of negotiations between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1687 United Nations Security Council resolution

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1687, adopted unanimously on June 15, 2006, after reaffirming all resolutions on the situation in Cyprus, particularly Resolution 1251 (1999), the Council extended the mandate of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) for six months until December 15, 2006.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1728 United Nations Security Council resolution

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1728, adopted unanimously on December 15, 2006, after reaffirming all resolutions on the situation in Cyprus, particularly Resolution 1251 (1999), the Council extended the mandate of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) for six months until June 15, 2007.

Occupy Buffer Zone

Occupy Buffer Zone (OBZ) was a protest movement that began on October 15, 2011 by Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot activists, in the Ledra/Lokmacı checkpoint, in Nicosia, Cyprus. The movement began with a weekly occupation of the checkpoint, which is located in the buffer zone that divides the island's territory and capital into the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the Republic of Cyprus since the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974. On November 19 of 2011 the occupation of the buffer zone became permanent.

References

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  4. Oxford References: Attila Line
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  9. "Sector Two". UNFICYP. 30 April 2008. Archived from the original on 17 February 2012. Retrieved 4 July 2012.
  10. "Sector Four". UNFICYP. 30 April 2008. Archived from the original on 17 February 2012. Retrieved 4 July 2012.
  11. Necatigil, Zaim (2005). Kıbrıs uyuşmazlığı ve Avrupa İnsan Hakları Mahkemesi kıskacında Türkiye: Avrupa İnsan Hakları Komisyonu ve Mahkemesi'nde Kıbrıs Rum yönetimi ve Kıbrıslı Rumlar tarafından Türkiye aleyhine getirilen davalar [The Cyprus Conflict and Turkey in the grip of ECHR: Cases brought against Turkey by the Greek Cypriot Administration and the Greek Cypriots before the European Commission of Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights] (in Turkish). Ankara: Turhan Kitabevi. p. 190. ISBN   9789756194348.
  12. "Consolidated version of the Green Line Regulation including amendments" (PDF) (PDF). Council of the European Union. 17 February 2005. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 February 2007.
  13. Euirpoean Commission (14 July 2005). "Report on the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) 866/2004 of 29 April 2004 and the situation resulting from its application" (PDF). COM. Brussels. p. 3.|chapter= ignored (help)
  14. "Antenna News in English 130896". www.hri.org.
  15. "1 killed, 11 wounded as Turks shoot at Greek Cypriots armed with stones". Associated Press. 15 August 1996. Retrieved 29 October 2007.
  16. Kessel, Jerrold (15 August 1996). "Cyprus conflict comes to a boil, U.N., U.S. fault Turkey for Greek Cypriot deaths". CNN. Archived from the original on 27 March 2007.
  17. Christou, Jean (11 November 1997). "Denktash 'minister' on Interpol list over Solomou killing". Cyprus Mail . Retrieved 4 July 2012.
  18. "Cypriots #OccupyBufferZone". The Stream. AlJazeera. 15 November 2011. Archived from the original on 8 April 2013. Retrieved 4 July 2012.