Hundreds of Famagusta residents gathered just after 5pm on Thursday at the Deryneia crossing to protest the reopening of Varosha’s beach strip on Thursday, demanding the return of the town to its lawful inhabitants and the full implementation of UN resolutions governing the future of the town that was abandoned after 1974 conflict.
MPs of all parties showed up to protest along the exasperated Famagusta residents, who raised banners that read, among other things, ‘Save Famagusta, Freedom for Cyprus’.
The protest was organised by the Famagusta municipality in response to the joint manoeuvre by the Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Ersin Tatar to allow the public partial access to what had for decades been a fenced-off town that could only be accessed by the Turkish military.
Civilians were permitted to enter into the Varosha beach strip just after 12pm. Men in civilian clothing who stood in front of the metal gate that had been placed at the entrance of the city allowed the public to enter without checking documents or identification, with the news later being confirmed that Turkish Cypriot authorities have not placed any restrictions on who can enter.
On Thursday afternoon, Turkish Cypriot authorities announced that the public will be able to access the permitted areas from 9am until 5pm daily.
According to Turkish Cypriot media, along with Tatar, Varosha was also visited by Turkish Cypriot real estate agents, who allegedly scoured the area to assess how to move forward with revamping the decaying town, in line with Turkey’s statement that it plans to gradually reopen the entirety of Varosha.