The mayor of the divided capital of Cyprus, Nicosia, and the self-styled mayor of the Turkish occupied part of Nicosia walked today along the UN-controlled buffer zone, dividing the island, pleadging to cooperate for a better future.
Constantinos Yiorkadjis and Mehmet Harmanci started their inspection walk from an abandoned street, inside the buffer zone which divides the capital.
This is their first time walking down this area together, to witness for themselves the situation of the ruined buildings, the wild vegetation which can become a cause of fire and the need for cleaning the area. The tour was organized by the UNFICYP.
“The buffer zone remains an open wound for all people living in Nicosia and hurts them every day. We are here to promote better cooperation between us because we need to solve these problems” Mayor of Nicosia, Constantinos Yiorkadjis, said asked how they feel as two young people of both communities walking for the first time together in the buffer zone.
“It`s very sad. Time has stopped here. It`s very emotional. A month ago I walked by myself here. It is the tragedy the two communities have faced for decades. It is an unacceptable situation” the “mayor” of the north occupied Nicosia, Mehmet Harmanci said. They are determine to take some progressive measures to solve the difficulties, he added.
As he explained there are several problems, such as the wild vegetation which can cause fire during summer time and the drainage of storm water, which need a specific plan to be faced. There is already a good communication and cooperation between them but they need to have a concrete plan to deal with the situation, he added.
Yiorkadjis stressed that their aim is to register on the ground with their own eyes the problems that buffer zones creates to the daily lives of the people of two communities. Besides the above problems, Yiorkadjis noted that there are buildings ready to collapse, which they must protect “in order to save our cultural heritage.”
When asked to comment on the fact that there was a good example decades ago with Mustafa Akinci (former “mayor” of north Nicosia) and Lellos Dimitriades (former Mayor of Nicosia) and if they can repeat this example, Yiorkadjis replied by saying “I am neither Lellos nor Akinci but on the cooperation part there were not only Dimitriades and Akinci but other mayors worked well too since then. We hope that we will continue this cooperation”.
They were the milestones of the cooperation, according to Harmanci, adding that they will try to follow the good steps and avoid the bad examples and “we will do it our way.”
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third.
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY