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Media Watch 2003

05 June 2003
Source: Cyprus Mail
Author: Sofia Kannas
Comment: The following article appeared in the Cyprus Mail of Nicosia on 5 June 2003.
Strovilia residents told to get power from the north

RESIDENTS of the Green Line checkpoint village of Strovilia have been told by authorities in the occupied north to apply to them for electricity, water and telephone lines, British Bases Police confirmed yesterday.

The government this week voiced its concern over “new Turkish violations of the status quo” in Strovilia. Following a meeting on the issue with British High Commissioner Lyn Parker on Tuesday, Foreign Minister George Iacovou told journalists that Turkey was violating the status quo by widening a road in the area, thereby disrupting the electricity supply of families living near the checkpoint. As a result of these actions, he said, residents in the area were being forced to submit application forms to the breakaway regime for a telephone connection, water and electricity supply.

Greek Cypriot residents of three houses in Strovilia were earlier quoted as saying they felt insecure after coming under pressure from the authorities in the north to apply for power.

Assistant Chief of Police at the British Garrison in Dhekelia, Theodoros Tsiarlis, told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) yesterday that two Greek Cypriot families living in Strovilia had been informed by Turkish Cypriot authorities that water, power and telephone lines could be cut due to improvement works near the checkpoint, adding that no such cuts had been made yet.

He stressed, however, that the area in question did not fall within the jurisdiction of the bases, making any intervention by the bases impossible. Tsiarlis also denied reports that occupying forces had encroached on bases territory. He reiterated that no such violations had occurred, and said the status quo in the southeastern village had not changed since alterations were made two years ago.

Police at a British base near Strovilia yesterday suggested the reports of Turkish violations had been exaggerated. They told the Cyprus Mail that the handful of Greek Cypriot families living in the area in question had not complained of cuts, adding that residents usually informed the bases of any problems with Turkish Cypriot authorities. Turkish Cypriot ‘police’ and taxi drivers at the checkpoint also denied that any disruption to power, water or phone lines had been made.

But British High Commission spokesman Stuart Summers expressed British concern at the situation in Strovilia, adding that Britain’s stance on the issue remained the same as that expressed when occupying forces encroached on the village in 2000. He reassured that developments were being monitored closely, saying the British had already communicated with Turkish Cypriot authorities and the occupying forces on the subject.

Referring to the issue yesterday, Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides also stressed the severity of the situation.

“It is a serious situation,” he said. “It is under examination and observation by the relevant state authorities.”"