A report in yesterday’s Turkish daily Milliyet suggested Turkey was preparing to open the ghost town Varosha to its Greek Cypriot residents but under Turkish Cypriot administration on July 1, coinciding with Cyprus taking over the EU Presidency.
“Actions that aim to create impressions and go beyond decisions of the international organisation or violate them are not accepted by the Greek Cypriot side,” said Stefanou.
He highlighted that the UN Security Council already passed Resolution 550 on Varosha in 1984, which seeks the transfer of the area to the UN followed by the return of the lawful inhabitants to the area.
In 2010, President Demetris Christofias proposed a three-point plan based on that resolution for Turkey to deliver the area to the UN, allowing the return of its inhabitants, open Famagusta port under EU auspices and in return Cyprus will unblock Turkey’s frozen accession negotiation chapters.
Despite the obvious incentive to agree, Turkey rejected the proposal, he noted.
“The government insists on the transfer of the area to the UN, as provided in UN resolutions, and reaffirms that the president’s 2010 proposal on Famagusta still stands,” said Stefanou.
“Turkey’s behaviour makes its own position difficult regarding its accession path and prospects,” he said, adding Turkey had the power to facilitate a solution to the Cyprus problem and help its EU course, but continued to do the opposite.
Alexis Galanos, the mayor of occupied Famagusta said he would be very surprised if Turkey was acting in good faith to improve the climate in the peace talks.
“If they really do move towards implementing (UNSC resolutions) 550 and 789 and deliver the town to the UN, and its residents receive the town from the UN as stipulated in the resolutions, then we’re talking about a serious move,” he said.
If not, then we’re talking about trying to create certain impressions and diversion tactics, he added.
The mayor said it was a “very dangerous move” from Turkey, “because it wants to create internal problems on our side, but ultimately it’s about colonising Famagusta”.
Galanos highlighted his municipality’s position on returning under Turkish Cypriot administration, saying it would not accept that “in any circumstances because the people returning will be enclaved, and won’t have the chance to live in conditions of security”.
He added: “If they were serious about starting work on the supply of electricity and water and other town planning works, we would have known. I believe we’re talking about another tactical move on behalf of the Turkish side.”
Foreign Minister Erato Kozako-Marcoullis said she has asked for an update from the Republic’s services on the situation in the fenced-off town.
“Until last Friday, there was no change in the status quo of the fenced-off part of Varosha,” she said.
The minister arranged to speak to a senior official of UNFICYP yesterday to request a full investigation into the matter.
“The UN has five observation posts in the closed-off area, and are in a position to know of any movements” by the Turkish army or others, she said.
Marcoullis repeated the view that if the Turkish proposal stands, it is a “flagrant violation” of UN resolutions.
She noted that all UN reports point to Turkey’s responsibility for the situation in Varosha, not the Turkish Cypriots, “so Turkey is responsible and cannot shun its responsibilities”.
If the aim is to inhabit Varosha with people other than its lawful residents then “this is a very serious development, which will aggravate if not stop Turkey’s EU accession course,” she said.
By Stefanos Evripidou
Published on March 27, 2012