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Greece, Cyprus Condemn Turkey’s Move to Open Part of Varosha

Varosha Greece Cyprus Turkey
Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot side announced the re-opening of part of Varosha in Famagusta. Credit: Greek Reporter/Rena Choplarou

Greece and Cyprus condemned on Tuesday the announcement made by Turkey and its puppet regime in the north of Cyprus to open a part of Varosha in Famagusta in contravention of UN resolutions.

President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades said the announcement was an “effort to alter the status quo” and added that “unity and the continued effort through the ‘weapons’ provided by international law, the EU and the principles of justice are the way to avert Turkey’s pursuits.”

Anastasiades also announced an extraordinary session of the National Council on Wednesday to assess the situation and make decisions on further steps.

Greece in solidarity with Cyprus condemns opening of Varosha

The Greek Foreign Ministry also issued a statement condemning plans to reopen part of Famagusta. The ministry said the latest announcement is in violation of UN Security Council resolutions, as well as with the conclusions of the European Council and the calls by the international community.

“Turkey must immediately stop its provocative and lawless behavior and comply with international law,” it said.

It added that Athens will continue to work with Nicosia for a “just and sustainable” peace settlement along the principle of a bizonal, bicommunal federation. The statement was echoed by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis who called on Turkey to “abandoned the meaningless policy of threats against Cyprus and the Turkish Cypriot [population].”

“These threats are, after all, also directed against international law and stability in the region; [they are directed] against the European Union and 21st century values. This is why they will not be tolerated,” he said.

The Greek premier said that the 47 years since the Turkish invasion have demonstrated that “only the enforcement of UN resolutions and EU decisions can heal the wound at the heart of the Mediterraenan,” and called for a resumption of talks for a united Cyprus on the basis of a bizonal and bicommunal federation. “[For] a European state of peace and progress for its people and its neighbors.”

Erdogan, Tatar announce partial reopening

Earlier on Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his close ally Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar announced the partial re-opening of the ghost town of Varosha.

Tatar said that the Turkish Cypriots decided to demilitarize 3.5 percent of the closed-off town of Varosha in Cyprus and open it for its Greek Cypriot owners to return.

“The military zone representing 3.5 percent of the closed-off Varosha will be abolished, and the second phase of our initiative will start,” he remarked. Tatar said the owners who apply to the immovable property commission will be eligible for return.

Erdogan said the decision meant a new era for Varosha on Cyprus that would benefit everyone. “A process will now begin to everyone’s benefit and with respect to ownership rights,” he stated.

“Instead of a symbol of non-solution, Varosha will become the symbol of future prosperity.”

On Monday, Erdogan reiterated Ankara’s call for a two-state solution on Cyprus during a speech at a special session of the breakaway northern region’s Parliament.

He said that he firmly rejected international efforts to reunify the island.

“On this island, there are two states and two peoples,” Erdogan said, in comments carried live on television in Turkey.

“We do not, and cannot make, any concession on that,” he declared, adding that past experiences “taught everyone clearly that Greek Cypriots have no intention of establishing a partnership state” comprised of two equal halves.

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