UN Security Council condemns plan to reopen Turkish Cypriot complex



People walk on a beach inside an area fenced by the Turkish army since 1974 in the abandoned coastal area of ​​Varosha, a suburb of the Turkish-controlled city of Famagusta in northern Cyprus, October 8, 2020 . REUTERS / Harun Ucar / File Photo

NEW YORK, July 23 (Reuters) – The United Nations Security Council on Friday condemned a plan by Turkish and Turkish Cypriot leaders to partially reopen the abandoned resort of Varosha and called for an immediate reversal of the decision.

Ankara-backed Turkish Cypriots said on Tuesday that part of Varosha – now a military zone and an area touted in the past to be returned to rival Greek Cypriots – would come under civilian control and be open for possible resettlement. Read more

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

The Turkish Cypriots’ decision sparked an angry reaction from the internationally recognized Greek Cypriot government of Cyprus, and a chorus of disapproval from the Western powers, led by the United States, who called the decision “unacceptable”. Turkey has ignored the criticism. Read more

“The Security Council stresses the need to avoid any further unilateral action which does not comply with its resolutions and which could increase tensions on the island and harm the prospects for a settlement,” the Council said.

Cyprus appealed to the Security Council on Wednesday against the decision of the Turkish Cypriot authorities.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry rejected the council’s statement and statements from some countries, saying they were based on unfounded allegations inconsistent with the realities of Cyprus.

“These statements are based on black Greco-Greek Cypriot propaganda and baseless claims,” ​​the statement said.

He said Varosha was part of the territory of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), which is only recognized by Ankara, and that it had not been opened for settlement.

All TRNC decisions respect property rights and fully comply with international law, he added.

The eastern Mediterranean island was divided in a Turkish invasion in 1974 triggered by a Greek-inspired coup. Peace efforts have repeatedly failed.

It is estimated that 17,000 Greek Cypriot residents of Varosha fled advancing Turkish troops in August 1974. It has remained empty ever since, cordoned off with barbed wire and no-entry signs. The UN resolutions demanded that the area be handed over to administration by the international body.

“The Security Council stresses the importance of full respect and implementation of its resolutions, including the transfer of Varosha to the UN administration,” he said on Friday.

Under a 2004 UN reunification plan, Varosha was one of the areas reportedly returned to its inhabitants under the Greek Cypriot administration. The plan, which detailed reunification as part of a complex power-sharing deal, was rejected in a referendum by the Greek Cypriots.

Reporting by Michelle Nichols and Doyinsola Oladipo, and Daren Butler in Istanbul; Editing by Diane Craft and Paul Simao

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