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25 May, 2024
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Ankara rejects statement on Varosha

Greek Cypriots stay on message after UN Security Council slams decision to reopen ghost town


Ankara has remained defiant following a UN Security Council presidential statement that condemned the decision by Turkey and Turkish Cypriots to reopen a residential section of abandoned Varosha.

A presidential statement on Friday called for “the immediate reversal” of Turkish-backed Varosha plans, warning that it could raise tensions on the divided Mediterranean island.

The statement approved by all 15 council members reiterated that attempts to settle any part of the Varosha suburb “by people other than its inhabitants is inadmissible.”

The Security Council was asked to tackle the Varosha issue after the Republic of Cyprus requested closed consultations to take place following a Turkish Cypriot announcement to reopen part of the ghost town in the north, also known as Maras in Turkish, a move heavily criticized by Greek Cypriots in the south.

Ankara issued a response to the statement, backing Turkish Cypriots who accused various countries of basing their decision on “unfounded claims” and views that were “inconsistent with the realities on the Island.”

Anastasiades called the decision to reopen Varosha an attempt to grab more territory, with Turkish Cypriots calling these statements 'black propaganda and groundless claims'

“These statements are based on Greek-Greek Cypriot black propaganda and groundless claims,” Ankara stated, dismissing claims that Varosha was not a territory in the north or that Turkish Cypriots would confiscate properties and assign them to settlers in violation of property rights.

Varosha, currently under military status in the northern part of the island, was abandoned in 1974 and had been a ghost city until last year, when Turkey and Turkish Cypriot authorities allowed visitors to access previously fenced off parts of the area as construction took place to open a beach strip and rebuild roads. 

The ghost town had been destined to return under Greek Cypriot administration as part of a negotiated peace deal between the two sides in cooperation with the island’s three guarantor powers, Greece, Turkey, and Great Britain. But UN-backed plans failed to reunifiy the island.

Ankara also argued that Varosha was part of territory administered by  Turkish Cypriots, adding that the authorities in the north never opened the ghost town for settlement but declared as a military zone as a “good will gesture.”

But Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades called the decision to reopen Varosha an attempt to grab more territory.

Greek Cypriots have also accused Turkey and Turkish Cypriots of harming peace talks and violating UN resolutions that prohibit any change to the coastal area’s status.

A UN Security Council Resolution in May 1984 “considers attempts to settle any part of Varosha by people other than its inhabitants as inadmissible and calls for the transfer of that area to the administration of the United Nations.”

Ankara accused the UN Security Council of not taking into account developments in the Cyprus dispute.

“The UN Security Council unfortunately insists on not to notice the realities on the ground concerning the Cyprus issue as well,” the statement said.

Cyprus  |  Varosha  |  UN  |  Security Council

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