By Chris Elliott ….
We have been to Lurucina/Akincilar a number of times when access was very difficult as permission was needed and the only access was through a Turkish Army base in the village of Tymbou near Ercan airport, but on 5th May 2017 a new tunnel under Ercan Airport and bypass road opened which now enables all to visit Lurucina without difficulty.
We were first invited to visit Lurucina by villager, Raziye Kocasmail who is also the founder of Tulips – Help Those With Cancer Association who arranged guided tours of the village which welcome visitors and also those for the annual Lurucina Festival. Sadly over time, less and less people visited the village and now it faces real difficulties as described by our friend Ismail Veli who was born in Lurucina in his article “Lurucina a village on the point of extinction in Cyprus ” click here
So what hope is there for the survival of this 900 year old Cyprus village which is the most southern point of the TRNC looking like a teardrop on the map and surrounded on 3 sides with the UN green line and southern Cyprus.
The answer is simple to construct a border crossing near to the village and if we set aside nationalist interests which would reject this proposal and perhaps talk of COVID-19 as well and view from what is currently 2 states on the island of Cyprus, it is clear that, as Ismail describes, with the border crossing there would be a fast link north and south which would enable tourists, etc to use either Ercan or Larnaca airports for their arrivals and departures and in turn, this would bring many visitors through the village which would encourage investment and many people to return to their roots or want to live there.
So what do the Lurucina villagers want? This we discovered when we visited the village on Sunday 26th July 2020 and were amazed to see so many people arriving including Prime Minister Ersin Tatar with his wife and daughter to lend their support. Similar events of support were held in London UK and Melbourne, Australia.
Speech by Hasan Barbaros, the Mayor of Louroudjina, on behalf of the Akıncılar-Louroudjina Crossing Initiative..
“My fellow villagers, dear supporters and the press who always have been supportive,
I would like to thank you all on behalf of myself and the Initiative for the support you have given us in our campaign towards a crossing point between our village Lurucina and neighbouring village Lympia.
There is another group of people I would like to thank. They are the people and the Mukhtar of Lympia, who will be the first people to be reached by the opening of this crossing. They do support our demand and share our concerns.
Akıncılar (Lurucina) has been ‘bleeding’ for the last 46 years. Having become a dead-end due to its geographical position, our village’s population has dropped dramatically from almost 4000 in 1974 to around 350 today. That is the reason we have gathered here today. We want to stop this deterioration. This is how the “Akıncılar/Lurucina Crossing Initiative” was born.
We have joined our hearts and set common targets, not only with our fellow Lurucina people living in all different parts of Cyprus, but also with the thousands who live all around the world.
It is a great honour and gives us enormous strength to see tens of thousands of people supporting our struggle, who have either lived in Lurucina, passed from Lurucina, or have loved our village because they want to support us in this very important goal.
Opening of a crossing between Lurucina and Lympia not only will benefit the people of our village but will also positively impact all the people living in both the North and South of Cyprus.
A crossing here will make it easier to cross to the North, for almost 60 thousand Greek Cypriots who live in the surrounding villages. It will also make it easier for the people of the villages who live in Mid-Mesaoria and those who live between Nicosia and Larnaca to reach each other. Those in the South who want to reach Ercan (Tymbou) Airport and those in the North who want to reach Larnaca Airport will have the opportunity to use a shorter route. This crossing therefore will benefit all the people from both sides.
We would like to invite the two Community Leaders to consider this initiative as a step towards Rapprochement, who have always declared to the international community that they support the Confidence Building Measures in Cyprus. We all know that the crossings are the most important way of bringing the two communities together in creating better and healthy communication. We also expect to see respect and support from the political parties as well.
I don’t want to take too much of your time. I would lastly want to say that today’s march is the beginning. This wouldn’t have been possible without your support. We are determined to do everything possible until we reach our goal. We are ready to march to the capital or anywhere around Cyprus.
We call upon the Turkish Cypriot, Greek Cypriot authorities, the United Nations, and the European Union to listen to our voice.
Mayor of Akıncılar (Lurucina)
On behalf of the Akıncılar/Lurucina Crossing Initiative”