Turkish Soldier Shot In Buffer Zone Of Cyprus
NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) _ A Turkish soldier was in critical condition Sunday after a Greek Cypriot trooper shot him in the U.N.-patrolled zone that divides the capital of this Mediterranean island, a U.N. spokesman said.
The soldier, identified as Hassan Kara, underwent surgery for a bullet wound in the stomach after the 3:15 p.m. incident at the crossing point between the Greek and Turkish sectors of the capital, said Charles Gaulkin, spokesman for the U.N. peacekeeping forces.
The Turkish soldier was shot once when he crossed toward the Greek area of the buffer zone after refusing to respond to a halt order, said a Greek Cypriot officer of the National Guard, speaking on conditon of anonymity. The National Guard said in a statement that the Turk ignored four shots fired in the air.
The National Guard said the soldier crawled out of the buffer zone and a U.N. ambulance took him to a hospital on the Turkish-controlled northern side of the island.
Police in the Turkish part of Cyprus said the soldier was on regular patrol when the Greek soldier shot at him eight times.
Cyprus Defense Minister Andreas Aloneftis said, ″We have established that the Greek Cypriot soldier did nothing more than what they are required to do in case of a violation of the buffer zone.″
Tension has been mounting in the 100-yard-wide zone of the old walled city after four fatal shootings in 1988. The area is patrolled by Greek Cypriot soldiers who face Turkish Cypriot troops and mainland Turkish soldiers across trenches fortified with sandbags.
Cyprus has been divided since Turkey invaded in 1974. In August, U.N.-sponsored peace talks between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides resumed after a break of nearly three years.