Derinya and Aplic border crossings opened up on Monday. The event was greeted with enthusiasm by numerous Turkish and Greek Cypriots, who queued to make the long-awaited crossing at both locations. Some were carrying fruit and olive saplings as gifts.
At Derinya in Famagusta, there were some mixed reactions. A small group of Greek Cypriots gathered to protest against opening the border. Members of extreme Greek Cypriot nationalist party put up a sign condemning the opening. That was later removed. Otherwise, there was a good atmosphere. Cypriots on both side of the divide in Famagusta who want to cross the border, will be relieved at being able to knock 40 minutes from their journey.
Bi-communal organisations made a joint press statement at Famagusta Avenue Garage as follows:
“We would like to express our enthusiastic and optimistic feelings about the opening of Derinya crossing point. We are delighted to see the realisation of our request three years after the announcement [to open Derinya and Aplic] by the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders.
“We have experienced many difficulties over the past years, but we have also experienced the importance of solidarity and cooperation between the communities in Cyprus. In the process, the synergy and ownership of societies, non-governmental organisations, local enterprises, political actors and activists are examples of the heart-felt wishes to get closer and resolve the Cyprus problem.
“We think that the opening of the Derinya crossing point will be a starting point for reunification of our country and reintegration of societies. Our struggle will continue until the day when our people will be reunited within the framework of a fair and comprehensive solution for all Cypriots, where the fences dividing our city are removed, the properties behind the fences are returned to their legal owners, and the human rights issues affecting the lives of the islanders have disappeared”.
Signatories to the statement are: Famagusta Initiative, Famagusta City, Famagusta Avenue Garage, Famagusta Youth Centre, Famagusta Cultural Association, Environment Dodtlar Initiative, Unite Cyprus Now, EMU-SEN, Historical Dialogue and Research Centre, Cyclists Across Barriers et al.