Cyprus Condemns Turkish Move to Reopen Varosha
Despite last week’s warnings by EU leaders to stop hostile actions in the Mediterranean, Turkey said it would be supporting a decision by the self-proclaimed Turkish-Cypriot ‘government’ to reopen a section of the beach in the Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus city of Varosha.
Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades strongly condemned the announcement, saying it is “an exceptionally unacceptable situation.”
Speaking after an urgent National Council meeting, Anastasiades said “Nicosia will promptly file a recourse to the United Nations Security Council.”
According to the Cypriot Press and Information Office (PIO), the UN Secretary General has expressed concern over the announcement on the opening of the beach/coast line of Varosha.
“He recalls that the position of the United Nations on Varosha remains unchanged and is guided by relevant Security Council resolutions. The Secretary General stresses the need to avoid any unilateral actions that could trigger tensions on the island and undermine the return to dialogue or the future success of talks. He calls on all parties to engage in dialogue in order to resolve their differences, and reiterates his readiness to bring the parties together,” the PIO said in a statement.
Turkey’s move comes days after the EU said it could impose sanctions on Turkey if the country continues its “provocations and pressures” on Greece over oil and gas resources and maritime borders in the eastern Mediterranean.
Ersin Tatar the self-declared head of the breakaway state – recognized only by Turkey – said he would reopen the beach area in the closed-off area of Varosha, after meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey.
The decision would be violating UN security council resolutions.
Erdogan confirmed Turkey’s full support.
It should be reminded that more than 39,000 Cypriots were forced to flee their homes in Varosha, in the southern suburb of Famagusta – also known as Ammochostos – in 1974, when Turkish forces invaded the island nation.
Since then it has remained a no-man’s land with Turkish military forces keeping the city fenced off to its former residents.
Greece also condemned Turkey’s decision to “extend the license for entry to the coastal front of Varosha. This decision constitutes a flagrant violation of the relevant Resolutions of the UN Security Council, and Greece will support all of the relevant efforts of the Republic of Cyprus”, the Greek foreign ministry said in a statement.
EU member state Cyprus has been divided since 1974 following an invasion by Turkey, which still maintains troops in the northern third.