EU, Russia Condemn Turkey’s Illegal Opening of Varosha



A view of Varosha, on the northern coast of Cyprus. Credit: TomasNY/Wikimedia Commons

Turkey’s decision to open the beach at Varosha, the fenced-off southern quarter of the city of Famagusta in Turkish-occupied Cyprus, on Thursday has led to widespread condemnation around the globe.

“This decision is a blatant violation of the UN Security Council Resolutions and Greece is going to support all the relevant efforts of the Republic of Cyprus,” said Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who spoke on Wednesday with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, as bulldozers entered Varosha so that it can be redeveloped by Turkish Cypriots.

The European Union urged Turkey to halt the reopening, saying the move would worsen ties that were already severely strained by Ankara’s energy exploration in the eastern Mediterranean.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the Turkish plan for Varosha would mark a “serious violation” of a United Nations cease-fire agreement for Cyprus.

“The EU is deeply concerned about today’s announcements and developments related to Varosha. These will cause greater tensions and may complicate efforts for the resumption of Cyprus settlement talks,” Borrell said in a statement.

“Full respect of relevant UN Security Council resolutions remains essential,” he added.

German government spokesman Steffen Seibert described the town’s reopening as “unnecessary and provocative” while lamenting that the Turkish move runs counter to efforts to de-escalate tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Russia said that the reopening is a matter of serious concern.

“We consider the decision to open the Varosha area unacceptable,” the Russian Foreign Ministry noted in a statement.

It also pointed out that the unilateral actions, which violate the UN Security Council resolutions taken in the past, create additional difficulties for the resumption of negotiations on the solution of the Cyprus issue.

“The Russian Federation, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, remains consistent in the settlement procedures set out in these resolutions and is ready to assist in their implementation,” the statement said.

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