Turkish troops advance positions in Cyprus ahead of peace talks

Turkish troops moved their positions forward to a buffer zone in Cyprus ahead of a meeting between Cyprus President and Turkish Cypriot leader, Greek business newspaper Financial Mirror reported on Friday.

Between Feb. 1 and Feb. 12, Turkish army had advanced in the Strovilia area controlled by the United Nations (UN), a strip of land situated between the Dhekelia British base and the Turkish controlled areas, the newspaper said.

Cyprus government said it had started working with the UN over escalating tensions after Turkey's advance.

“We are handling the matter in cooperation with the United Nations, we have no further announcement for the time being,” Cypriot government spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said.

In 2000, the Turkish army moved their positions forward in the same village and extended the Cyprus territory under its control. The UN repeatedly asked Turkey to pull back to original positions, however, Turkey remained, the Financial Mirror said.

Turkey's move comes on the eve of an informal meeting on Feb. 26 between Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akıncı that will be hosted by Elizabeth Spehar, the UN secretary-general’s special representative and head of the organisation’s Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus.

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