Cyprus

Cyprus President warns Turkey over Varosha opening intention

Violation of the status of Varosha, the fenced off section of the Turkish occupied town of Famagusta, will be the cause of interruption of Turkey’s European course, Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades said on Saturday.

That’s why Turkey should first calculate the cost, the President also said amid fresh reports in the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot press that Ankara is getting ready to open the fenced city in full violation of UN resolutions.

“Turkey should first calculate the cost, since this decision will be the cause, not just of appealing to the (UN) Security Council or the European Council, but also the cause for Turkey’s entire European course to be interrupted,” he said.

He was making talking to journalists after a church service in Prodromos village on the occasion of the Assumption of Mary.

Asked whether he considers the EU Council of Foreign Affairs’ reaction to Turkish provocations in the Mediterranean “lukewarm” he said: “I believe that an effort is being made so that through a peaceful process, and particularly through dialogue, and on the basis always of international law, all possibilities will be exhausted, in order to avoid any crisis.”

He expressed the view that the initiative undertaken by leading EU countries will contribute in a de-escalation of the tension in the region.

“Certainly, the final settlement of the matter can take place through a sincere dialogue and full – I would like to underline this – respect of international law and the law of the sea,” the President also said.

Varosha, the fenced off section of the Turkish occupied town of Famagusta, is often described as a ‘ghost town’.

UN Security Council resolution 550 (1984) considers any attempts to settle any part of Varosha by people other than its inhabitants as inadmissible and calls for the transfer of this area to the administration of the UN.

UN Security Council resolution 789 (1992) also urges that with a view to the implementation of resolution 550 (1984), the area at present under the control of the United Nations Peace-keeping Force in Cyprus should be extended to include Varosha.

The Turkish Bar Association organised early this year a round table discussion in Varosha,  for the first time since 1974, and was attended, among others, by Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay and Turkish Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül.

Oktay had stated that Varosha belongs to the illegal Turkish Cypriot regime, and took part in a tour of the fenced-off part of Famagusta.

Anastasiades has protested the provocations in writing to UN Secretary General, the five UN Security Council permanent members, European Council President and German Chancellor, whose country presides over the EU in the second half of 2020.

Anastasiades has also proposed the establishment of an international committee of experts with the participation of Famagusta residents, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, to evaluate the situation in Varosha, so that it may be returned to its legitimate residents.

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