Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said Wednesday night that Varosha cannot remain a ruin and can be transformed by Turkey into “a pearl of Cyprus” once again that everyone can benefit from.
Speaking to Turkish Cypriot broadcaster Bayrak during his two-day visit to the north, Oktay said that Greece and the Greek Cypriot side must forget any bargaining over Vaosha, noting that “that’s over now, I wish you a speedy recovery.”
Oktay said the initiative to reopen a portion of the fenced-off town was a move of good will on the part of Turkey, adding that “here, we are the owners. The ‘TRNC’”. The decision to reopen the ghost town was the north’s, and Turkey supported it, Oktay said, noting “is it better for Varosha to be closed and mice to wander about or [is it better to have] children cycling there?”
Regarding the friction Turkey has with Greece and Cyprus, Oktay said “problems can be mutually solved through dialogue. Something other than that makes a solution difficult.”
Oktay hailed as historic the comments made on Tuesday by the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan while addressing lawmakers of his AKP party. “There is no other solution in Cyprus apart from two states. There is no federation anymore. Either you accept this or you don’t,” Erdogan said, adding, that “only under these conditions can we sit at the table over Cyprus. Otherwise, everyone should go their own way.”
Both Turkey and the north have in the recent period been embellishing their two-state solution rhetoric with historical justifications that position the Greek Cypriot community as the root of the issue, both in the dissolution of the partnership set up in 1960 and in the rejection of the Annan Plan in 2004.
In view of the informal five-party summit on the Cyprus Problem being organised by the UN Secretary General, Oktay reiterated that a federal solution won’t be discussed. Erdogan “put an end to that.”
Referring to the hydrocarbons issue, Oktay said the matter could form a medium for peace and not conflict, bringing up the north’s proposal for the distribution among the two communities of funds from national resources.
Oktay also latched onto a comment made by the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis during his joint statements with Anastasiades in Nicosia, where he referred to Turkey as an occupying power. Reiterating a claim surfacing from Tatar recently, Oktay said Greece is the occupying power, noting that “if they want to see the occupier, they should look in the mirror.”
Oktay said his visit to the north along with a broad delegation of Turkish officials served to put into motion a series of projects involving upgrading infrastructure and new developments in the north, which Oktay said Turkey seeks to put on the world map.