Turkey continued its seemingly never-ending string of provocations in the Eastern Mediterranean by announcing on Tuesday — along with the government of the self-declared “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” — the reopening of the seaside town of Varosha, which has been abandoned since the invasion of Cyprus by Turkey in 1974.
Over 39,000 residents of the Varosha area fled after the Turkish invasion, turning it into an eerie ghost town. Since 1984, rulings including UN Resolutions 550 & 789 have called on Turkey to hand over control of Varosha to the United Nations so that its residents can return to their homes.
However, all the UN resolutions have fallen on deaf ears.
In a heartfelt Tweet, Thomas Kazakos, Director General of the Cyprus Shipping Chamber, wrote about the beloved hometown which he was forced to abandon after 1974’s barbaric invasion and Turkey‘s decision to render it “open for use” on Tuesday.
“In 1974 I was pushed out from “the house where I was born” in (enclosed) Famagusta. Next Thursday, 46 years later, the beach of my house will be “open for use” … while I am still a Refugee !!!
Without further comment … WHY ??” Kazakos wrote on Twitter.
Το 1974 εκδιώχθηκα από «το σπίτι που γεννήθηκα» στην (περίκλειστη) Αμμόχωστο; την ερχόμενη Πέμπτη, 46 Χρόνια μετά, η παραλία του σπιτιού μου θα «ανοίξει για χρήση»… εγώ ακόμη Πρόσφυγας!!!
Χωρίς άλλα σχόλια… ΓΙΑΤΙ?? pic.twitter.com/gsGtVFgEDi
— Thomas Kazakos (@ThomasKazakos) October 6, 2020
Erdogan has just unilaterally announced that part of #Varosha (under military occupation by Turkey since 1974) will be 'opened to the public' on Thursday.
This land is not Erdogan's to give. Varosha belongs to the Republic of Cyprus and its people.https://t.co/sjqNaR7lFS
— Christos Tuton (@ChristosTuton) October 6, 2020
The latest provocative act of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan shows clearly that he does not take into account the repeated warnings of the United Nations, NATO, the European Union, or the United States, much less the complaints of EU member states Greece and Cyprus.
This time the new pawn in his evil, grandiose schemes is the once beautiful coastal town of Varosha. The “French Riviera of Cyprus” before 1974 is now an off-limits ghost town that should be handed over to the UN so that the rightful citizens can return to their homes, even 46 years later.
Before the fatal day of July 20, 1974, Varosha was a booming town in a beautiful region that was still peaceful and carefree. Its long, sandy beaches attracted thousands of tourists with some of the world’s rich and famous among them.
Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, Sophia Loren and Brigitte Bardot were among the 700,000 or so visitors a year to this jewel of the Mediterranean. They crowded the beaches, the nightclubs, and the restaurants, while the Hotel Argo on JFK Avenue hosted most of the celebrities.
Just in back of the main beach, lines of high-rise buildings signified the cosmopolitan air of the town, making it stand out from all other resort towns in the Eastern Mediterranean at the time.
Today’s pictures of the once-beautiful holiday town are saddening. Abandonded to the elements, fenced-off with barbed wire, guarded by Turkish soldiers, Varosha is a symbol of the absurdity of a world that has done absolutely nothing to right the wrong of the Turkish invasion, even almost half a century after the fact.
What is more absurd is the hubris against the thousands of Cypriots who were killed by the invaders, the raped women, the missing children, the wounded, the 39,000 misplaced and the large part of the island that is still occupied.
And let’s say that the pseudo-government of the occupied part of Cyprus actually does restore the dead town and renders it “open for use.” Who is going to visit it?