Cypriot government spokesman Prodromos Prodromou on Thursday said Turkish Cypriot moves in the closed-off town of Varosha were a clear violation of UN resolutions after it emerged that experts had started an inventory of abandoned buildings.
Turkish Cypriot “Foreign Minister” Kudret Ozersay announced on Thursday morning that he was entering Varosha with the group of experts.
Ozersay said they would look into the condition of the town’s infrastructure and tourist establishments. “After this research is completed, we will decide how Varosha will be a part of social life,” he said.
He added that the closed-off town should not remain unutilised and a military area, while “the people who have rights to their properties there, have no connection to them.”
In June, the Turkish Cypriot authorities, which are not recognized by the UN, announced that they had decided to reopen Varosha.
Before the Turkish invasion of Cyprus 45 years ago, Varosha was a popular destination for Hollywood stars and wealthy tourists. The former resort suburb of Famagusta was abandoned and declared a buffer zone by the UN after the Turkish invasion, and is effectively a no-mans-land.
Before the closure, there were more than 100 hotels in Varosha, with an accommodation capacity of 10,000. The closure came at a time when hundreds of new construction projects were underway.