Famagusta mayor calls for talks, works begin on Varosha seafront (Updated)

Famagusta mayor calls for talks, works begin on Varosha seafront (Updated)

Turkish Cypriot workmen have set up an entry point to Varosha seafront, in the closed part of the ghost town, Turkish media reported on Wednesday, posting a video of the work being carried out.

 

Turkish Cypriot workmen have set up an entry point to Varosha seafront, in the closed part of the ghost town, Turkish media reported on Wednesday, posting a video of the work being carried out.

Kibris Postasi posted a video on social media, showing a crane placing a portable cabin by a gate, which reportedly would act as a checkpoint. Police officers were present.

The Turkish Cypriot regime announced on Tuesday it would open the seafront to the public on Thursday, sparking protests by the Cyprus government which has taken the issue to the UN Security Council.

The EU is also preparing a stand with the High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell saying the union would issue an announcement later today.

“The reopening of this area, which is closed under the UN ceasefire agreement, is a serious violation,” Borrell said. “It will increase tensions and make it more difficult to reach an agreement on a particularly difficult situation for all of us in the Eastern Mediterranean,” he said.

Manfred Weber, head of the European People’s Party, which is the largest grouping in the European Parliament, denounced the planned reopening of parts of Varosha.

“Erdogan intends to open and illegally settle the fenced off town of Varosha, a town taken from Cyprus in 1974,” he wrote on Twitter on Wednesday. “It would be a blatant violation of UN security council resolutions and simply illegal. Varosha should be returned to its rightful owners now!”

The only hope of preventing further provocative actions and violations in Varosha would be through resuming the Cyprus talks, Famagusta Mayor Simos Ioannou said on Wednesday.

The announcement that a section of the beach area in Varosha is to be reopened comes as one of the biggest shifts in the city’s status since Greek Cypriot inhabitants fled the city, as Turkish forces advanced, 46 years ago.

Speaking to the Cyprus News Agency, Ioannou also said that the move, approved by Turkish President Erdogan and announced by Turkish Cypriot ‘prime minister’ Ersin Tatar in Turkey, was done to aid Tatar in his election campaign.

But Ioannou stressed that the move was taken, in part, to tank the Cyprus talks. He also stated that reopening the beach is a step towards the complete resettlement of Varosha.

“In the case where Turkey’s favoured candidate is ‘elected’, then there will certainly be a continuation of such [resettlement] moves,” he said.

“They will proceed with opening larger areas of the beach, creating infrastructure and facilities while finding further excuses to keep on expanding,” Ioannou said.

Some had hoped that the Cyprus talks would resume soon after the ‘elections’ in the north on Sunday, however many see the latest move as a major obstacle towards renewing such efforts.

“If talks do not take place either now or in the near future there will certainly be a division and in such a case then the whole of Varosha will be lost,” Ioannou said.

President Nicos Anastasiades, meanwhile, held a phone call with Greek Prime Minister Kyriacos Mitsotakis where they “discussed ways of coordination to address Turkey’s provocative behaviour,” according to deputy government spokesman, Panayiotis Sentonas.

 

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