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Erdogan Warned Not to Inflame Tensions in Occupied Cyprus Visit

Turkey EU Accession talks european parliament
Turkish President Erdogan. Credit: Turkish Presidency

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced recently that he will pay a visit to occupied Cyprus on July 20, to celebrate the anniversary of the 1974 Turkish invasion.

Turkish Cypriot authorities and Turkey are organizing festivities every year to celebrate, what they call the “liberation” of their land by the Turkish Army, whose invasion led to the division of the Mediterranean island.

EU chief Ursula von der Leyen on Friday warned Turkey’s leader not to jeopardize a push for better ties with the bloc by inflaming tensions.

The controversial visit comes as the EU — of which Cyprus is a member — is looking to improve ties with Turkey after tensions spiked in the eastern Mediterranean last year, when Ankara carried out illegal explorations for gas in Greek and Cypriot waters.

“This is a very sensitive topic for us. And we are very clear that we will of course observe how this visit will go and that we will never, ever accept as a European Union a two-state solution,” von der Leyen told the press after an EU summit in Brussels.

“These clear messages have been sent. I said it personally to the president. So it’s up to him now to set a positive signal.”

Erdogan last visit to occupied Cyprus

Erdogan sparked anger from Greece, Cyprus, the EU and the US last year with a visit to the beachfront area of Varosha, a one-time luxury resort turned ghost town along a UN buffer zone.

In yet another gesture of complete disregard for international law, Erdogan had  a ‘picnic’ in Varosha, in a move condemned by Greece as “an unprecedented provocation that is in direct violation of UN Security Council Resolutions 550 and 789 and the Conclusions of the European Council.”

At that visit the Turkish President celebrated the 37th anniversary of the illegal declaration of the establishment of the so-called ”Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus,” an illegal entity not recognized by anyone in the world but Ankara.

Turkey steps up work at Varosha, in occupied Cyprus

Recently, Turkey and the Turkish-Cypriot authorities have stepped up their preparations to open up parts of Varosha.

Photographic and video evidence obtained by the Cyprus News Agency shows that work on the new part of Chrysi Akti (Golden Coast) Beach, which extends to the Venus Hotel and will be accessible to the public, is almost complete.

Palm trees have been planted along the path that has been built leading to the beach as well as an enclosed canteen. Beach umbrellas and sunbeds have been set up on the beach, although it has not yet been opened to the public, the report says.

Work is being carried out in the once strictly-inaccessible military area, and a large piece of land has been leveled, but there is no indication what this is for.

Turkey which has torpedoed the recent UN-organized talks in Geneva insists on a “two-state” solution on Cyprus, which is rejected by the international community.

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