Biased EU stance cannot contribute to Cyprus issue, Ankara says | Eurasia Diary -

27 September, Monday

Biased EU stance cannot contribute to Cyprus issue, Ankara says

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The biased position of the European Union on the Cyprus issue makes it impossible to contribute to the solution, Turkey said on Tuesday as it dismissed remarks made by the bloc's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on the partial reopening of the Varosha (Maraş) region in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) as being worthless.
"These and similar statements, which ignore the Turkish Cypriot people, are disconnected from the facts and reflect only the views of the Greek Cypriot side, have no value or provision from our point of view," said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Tanju Bilgiç.
"It is also impossible for this biased EU position, put forward under the pretext of membership solidarity and veto concern, to contribute to the solution of any problem," he stated.
"Our support for the proposals of the TRNC authorities and all the decisions they have taken on the solution of the Cyprus issue and the opening of Maraş are complete," the statement said.
Saying that the decision to partially reopen Varosha belongs to the Turkish Cypriot government, Bilgiç stressed: "After the Annan plan (failure) in 2004, the EU was obliged to keep its promises to the Turkish Cypriot people and learn to take the TRNC as an interlocutor."
In 2004 referendums on both sides of the island, Greek Cypriots rejected the United Nations plan to resolve the island's issues while the Turkish Cypriots accepted it. Turkey says the EU broke promises it made before the vote, including lifting the blockade from Turkish Cyprus.
Borrell said earlier on Twitter that the "EU strongly condemns Turkey's unilateral steps and unacceptable announcements on the further reopening of the fenced-off town of Varosha. We call for the immediate reversal of these actions and of all steps taken on Varosha since October 2020."
Varosha was partially reopened to the public last October after being a "ghost town" since 1974.
Since its partial reopening, Varosha has attracted both people living in the TRNC as well as foreign tourists, with the environment and landscape around the town also boosting its appeal.
The locals of Gazimağusa (Famagusta) also believe that the gradual reopening of Varosha after being abandoned as a ghost town for 46 years will bring positive results to the region and the island of Cyprus.
Varosha is a suburb of Famagusta, a city that was Cyprus’ pre-1974 tourism hub thanks to its pristine beaches and modern hotels. After Varosha’s 15,000 Greek Cypriot residents fled in the face of advancing Turkish troops, the area was fenced off to prevent any access until last October when Turkish and Turkish Cypriot authorities announced its reopening.
It was abandoned after a 1984 U.N. Security Council resolution saying that only its original inhabitants can resettle the town.
Entry into the town located in Northern Cyprus was forbidden except for Turkish army personnel stationed in the TRNC.
The move comes on the heels of last week's ceremonies marking the 47th anniversary of Turkey's Peace Operation.
Cyprus has been mired in a decades-long dispute between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, despite a series of diplomatic efforts by the U.N. to achieve a comprehensive settlement.
Ethnic attacks starting in the early 1960s forced Turkish Cypriots to withdraw into enclaves for their safety.
In 1974, a Greek Cypriot coup aimed at Greece's annexation led to Turkey's military intervention as a guarantor power to protect Turkish Cypriots from persecution and violence. As a result, the TRNC was founded in 1983.
It has seen an on-and-off peace process in recent years, including a failed 2017 initiative in Switzerland under the auspices of guarantor countries Turkey, Greece, and the United Kingdom.
The Greek Cypriot administration entered the EU in 2004, the same year Greek Cypriots thwarted the U.N.-led Annan plan to end the longstanding dispute.
Both Turkey and TRNC have said a permanent peace in Cyprus can only come through the international community’s recognition of two separate states, upending decades of negotiations to reach a federation-based reunification accord.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry recently said decades of efforts failed to lead to a bizonal, bicommunal federal settlement "due to the intransigent attitude of the Greek Cypriot administration." They added that insisting on this model "now damages the credibility of the Council."
"A new negotiation process toward a just, lasting and sustainable settlement to the Cyprus issue could begin only by securing the equal sovereignty and equal international status of the Turkish Cypriot people," the ministry said.

Daily Sabah

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