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12° Nicosia,
14 June, 2024
 
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The hypocrisy over Varosha

'With the recent sale of three hotels in Famagusta through the committee, the argument of high treason no longer holds, as the status quo in the city has changed since 2020.'

Yiannis Ioannou

Yiannis Ioannou

The news of three hotels owned by Greek Cypriots being sold to a Turkish Cypriot entrepreneur in Varosha summarizes our ongoing hypocrisy in the Cyprus issue, both in terms of the displaced and the property aspect in the negotiations. The first approach in a Turkish Cypriot publication simply showed a private agreement stamped by a 'muktar' and included some speculation, but its news coverage triggered a reaction regarding the dimension of "the government of the Republic of Cyprus has no involvement."

After the events of 1974, the Greek Cypriot community collectively failed to agree on a commonly accepted formula for managing property capital.

But the sale of property by a Greek Cypriot, especially in Varosha, which is not under military occupation, through the Property Committee in the occupied territories, was and is a taboo that immediately carries the debate of polarization within the Greek Cypriot community and especially among the displaced - amounting, for many decades, to the absolute, the ultimate betrayal both for the State - with the capital 'S' - and for a part of society.

After the events of 1974, the Greek Cypriot community collectively failed to agree on a commonly accepted formula for managing property capital. There were various approaches, ranging from the idealistic "all refugees to their homes" to the hasty and architecturally unsound construction of settlements to house displaced people in the logic of "we will be back in two years." There were also graphical, in my opinion, items about the salamisation of the Cyprus problem and the proclamation that did not bring any results, especially concerning the return of Famagusta to its legitimate inhabitants. In the four decades since, the status quo has remained, and the displaced residents of Famagusta, Morphites, and Kerynia have grown up and died in settlements. Meanwhile, the urban development of Nicosia has filled our entire society, and above all, the political elites, with money and hypocrisy.

With the recent sale of three hotels in Famagusta through the committee, the argument of high treason no longer holds, as the status quo in the city has changed since 2020.  It is no longer 1983, 1996, or 2004, and human rights have a different meaning today. Moreover, Cyprus has sold passports of the RoC, which is an issue that you are trying to secure in the Cyprus problem. In light of this, how can the state stop someone from doing whatever they want with their private property, even if it is in the occupied territories? Furthermore, if Ankara and Tatar decide to turn all of Famagusta into a casino city, how can the state intervene? Calling for the implementation of Resolution 789 in international forums does not seem to be effective as it has been adopted by the UNSC since 1992, and yet nothing has been done. This situation reflects a failed state policy over time. In fact, a Cypriot citizen born in 1992, with Varosian grandparents, is already 31 years old, and his Varosian grandfather may no longer be alive.

Do we want to save Varosha? Either we will solve the Cyprus problem or the State should put a stamp -not a mere declaration this time- boldly stating that if in the next 20 years Varosha becomes Limassol times 10, it is Turkey's fault and not its own. Everything else is just hypocrisy.

Twitter: @JohnPikpas

[This article was translated from its Greek original]

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