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Turkish Cypriots hail symbolic gesture March 9, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Occupied.

Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat’s main advisor Rasit Pertev said, “This is extremely symbolic. It is a great pleasure to see”. The dynamism created by this move will lead to the opening of the crossing,” he said, adding that he had received news that the wall was being demolished from his Greek Cypriot negotiating counterpart Tassos Tzionis as demolition begun. Pertev said he believed it would take a few days before people would be able to use the crossing.

Around 50 people were gathered at the barricade at around 11.30. One of them was  Murat Obenler who said he was “always happy to see borders open”, and added, “Hopefully now they will all be knocked down”.  Yusuf Alp, a construction worker, said he heard the news of the wall’s demolition on Greek Cypriot TV and had come to see it coming down. “It is a lovely thing to see the wall come down. We have waited years for this,” he said. “This was the first barricade between us and the Greek Cypriots. It’s been here for 43 years. Hopefully people will change and get more used to living together. Even if it takes 50 years, this is a step,” Alp added.

Turkish occupied and military controlled Nicosia Mayor Cemal Bulutoglulari was also on the scene, and expressed great pleasure at events taking place on the other side of the barricade. “I was with Eleni Mavrou, Greek Cypriot Mayor of Nicosia, today celebrating women’s day. UN envoy’s Mr Moller was there and he asked us what was happening at Lokmaci, when we were going to open the crossing. I answered that we had done our part by taking down the bridge. For the first time since I’ve known her, Eleni looked nervous”.

As demolition took place, two Turkish soldiers filmed proceedings with camcorders while others handed out tea to local dignitaries. High ranking officers appeared to have been taken by surprise.

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