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Jordan Joins Greece, Cyprus in Opposition to Turkey’s Varosha Plans

Varosha is the once-thriving resort town that has been a fenced-off no-man’s-land since the Turkish invasion of 1974. Credit: Rena Choplarou/Greek Reporter

Greece, Cyprus and regional ally Jordan on Wednesday called for a “comprehensive and viable settlement of the Cyprus problem” after Turkey said it would reopen the former resort town of Varosha, in the disputed north of the island.

The leaders of the three countries — Kyriakos Mitsotakis of Greece, Nicos Anastasiades of Cyprus, and Jordan’s King Abdullah II — speaking at a summit in Athens, were responding to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s announcement last week of plans to reopen Varosha.

The former resort has been a fenced-off ghost town since a 1974 invasion by Turkey resulted in a UN-monitored standoff that divided the Mediterranean island.

According to a joint statement issued after the summit, the three leaders said they were committed to a “comprehensive and viable settlement of the Cyprus problem in line with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and international law.”

Greek PM Mitsotakis calls Varosha developments “deplorable”

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis called the recent developments on Cyprus “deplorable”.

In opening remarks, he said that the summit of the three leaders “reflects the commitment of our countries to promote peace stability and prosperity in our wider region.”

Cyprus President Anastasiades said that he had spoken to the other leaders “on the Cyprus problem especially after the recent announcements that have been condemned by the UN Security Council, as well as by the EU.”

The European Union, to which Cyprus belongs, recently condemned what it called “Turkey’s unilateral steps and the unacceptable announcements,” demanding that Ankara reverse its decision which threatens the troubled status quo in the Mediterranean region.

When taking a tour of the disputed area marking the 47th anniversary of the invasion, Erdogan vowed to the world press that “life will restart in Varosha.”

For some time now, both Greece and Cyprus have been looking to shore up support from other countries in the Mediterranean region as a way to stand as a bulwark against Turkey’s increasingly nationalist, expansionary policies in recent years.

“We are nations that share the Eastern Mediterranean (region) and I think we will continue to play a vital role and look for wider cooperation,” King Abdullah II of Jordan said during Wednesday’s summit.

UN Security Council issues strong statement against Turkish plans for Cyprus

Last Friday, the UN Security Council issued a strong statement against Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot regime in regard to the recent announcements concerning Varosha.

The statement of the UN was issued after an open session of the Security Council which condemned the statements that had been made “by Turkish and Turkish Cypriot leaders.”

The statement says that the Security Council condemns ”the 20 July announcement by Turkish and Turkish Cypriot leaders on the further reopening of a part of the fenced-off Varosha area in Cyprus, calling for the immediate reversal of that course of action and for the reversal of all steps taken on Varosha since October 2020”

The document, titled S/PRST/2021/13, was presented by France, Council President for July.

The 15-member group reiterated that ”any attempt to settle any part of Varosha by people other than its inhabitants is inadmissible.”

It also expressed its regret over those unilateral actions that run contrary to previous Council resolutions and statements.

The Council went on to stress ”the importance of full respect and implementation for its resolutions, including the transfer of Varosha to United Nations administration, and of respect for freedom of movement for the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP).”

Additionally, the Security Council reaffirmed its commitment to ”an enduring, comprehensive and just settlement, in accordance with the wishes of the Cypriot people and based on a bicommunal, bizonal federation with political equality, as set out in relevant Council resolutions.”

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