Turkish Cypriot : Greek Cypriots Will Have No Say in Varosha

Greek Cypriots will be kept out of the Varosha process, the self-named Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’ Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Kudret Ozersay said on Sunday, according to the Daily Sabah.

Ozersay further stated that, after 45 years of a divided Cyprus, the decisions of the United Nations have no weight and they are only being used at an advisory level.

On June 18, officials in the Turkish-occupied zone of the island of Cyprus visited the ghost town of Varosha, near Famagusta, looking into the possibility of re-settlement there. This surprising development came after months of increasing tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Varosha, once a beautiful, vibrant coastal town which attracted wealthy tourists, replete with luxury hotels, villas and restaurants, was abandoned after the Turkish invasion on July 20, 1974, following a coup attempt that Greece supported.

Varosha, located on the “Green Line,” the present-day border between the island’s two communities, was completely fenced off and became a no-man’s-land after a UN decision in 1974.

The city is also protected by a 1984 UN Security Council resolution stating that the empty town can only be resettled by its original inhabitants. Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akıncı will meet on Friday to discuss the ongoing issues in this disputed area.

Last week, officials in the Turkish-occupied zone of the island announced that a team of experts will visit the town to make a list of movable and immovable properties in the city.

“We use our own legislation and the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights as a basis,” Ozersay told the Daily Sabah.

After taking inventory in Varosha, procedures to grant the area “civilian status” rather than its current “military” listing will commence, according to Cypriot Turkish authorities.

If the Greek and Turkish sides are able to come to an agreement, Greek Cypriots will gain access to Varosha as well as Turkish ports and airports, and Turkish Cypriots will be able to engage in direct trade via the Port of Famagusta, the Daily Sabah report concludes.