Turkish plan to reopen disputed Cyprus resort slammed by UNSC

Turkish plan to reopen disputed Cyprus resort slammed by UNSC
People on a beach inside an area fenced off by the Turkish military since 1974 in the abandoned coastal area of Varosha, in Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus, October 8, 2020. © Harun Ucar, REUTERS

The Turkish Cypriots, backed by Ankara, announced on Tuesday that a portion of Varosha, which is now a military zone and has previously been touted as being returned to rival Greek Cypriots, would be placed under civilian control and open to potential resettlement.

“The Security Council calls for the immediate cessation of this course of action, as well as the cessation of all steps taken on Varosha since October 2020,” the 15-member body said in a statement on Friday.

The Turkish Cypriots’ move drew an angry response from Cyprus’s internationally recognized Greek Cypriot government, as well as a chorus of condemnation from Western powers, led by the United States, which called the move “unacceptable.”

Turkey has dismissed the criticism.

“The Security Council emphasizes the need to avoid any further unilateral actions that are not in accordance with its resolutions, which could raise tensions on the island and jeopardize prospects for a settlement,” the council said.

On Wednesday, Cyprus petitioned the Security Council in response to the Turkish Cypriot authorities’ decision.

Turkey’s foreign ministry rejected the council’s statement, as well as statements made by other countries, saying they were based on unfounded claims that contradicted Cyprus’s realities.

“These statements are based on Greek-Greek Cypriot black propaganda and baseless claims,” according to the statement.

It stated that Varosha is part of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), which is only recognized by Ankara, and that it has not been opened to settlement.

According to the TRNC, all of its decisions respect property rights and are fully compliant with international law.


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