Turkish military plane flies over buffer zone

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The sighting of a Turkish military plane flying over the buffer zone for the first time since 1974 concerned residents in rural Nicosia.

The United Nations are investigating the incident, and the government has prepared a diplomatic protest.

In comments to the Cyprus News Agency, Denia local council head Christakis Panayiotou said fellow residents called him up Thursday evening around 6 pm to report their concerns about a “plane circling over the buffer zone.”

Panayiotou told CNA that the Turkish military plane was flying over the buffer zone in circles for about an hour and flew 5 to 6 times over the village before heading to the Turkish-occupied area.

“This is very rare, and most of them who were concerned had lived through 1974 and know what planes can do,” Panayiotou told the CNA.

According to the head of the community of Denia, the United Nations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Guard were informed about the incident.

Panayiotou said that the plane was definitely not a fighter jet.

Additional reports said a similar incident was reported earlier by locals east of the capital, who said they saw a plane circling over the buffer zone in the early afternoon.

President Nikos Christodoulides said on Friday that actions would be taken in the direction of the United Nations and the EU.

Asked if he is worried by this activity, President Christodoulides said that he was “concerned every day with the whole situation,” referring to the Cyprus problem.

“I am here to be concerned and take action.

“Of course, it is something that we cannot overlook under any circumstances whatsoever, especially at present, and for this reason, I said we will take specific actions”.

Meanwhile, the UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) said it is in contact with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs about an incident involving a Turkish aircraft that flew over the buffer zone in the Nicosia village of Denia.

UNFICYP spokesperson Aleem Siddique told CNA that the force is in contact with the MFA and “is investigating this incident.”