Greece tells EU Erdogan’s Varosha visit insults all Cypriots

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Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias denounced Sunday’s visit by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to fenced-off Varosha calling it an insult to all Cypriots.

Speaking at the EU Foreign Affairs Council, held on Thursday via a videoconference, Dendias said the fenced-off town “is not the place for a picnic”.

“This action constitutes an insult to all Cypriots, Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots, and violates blatantly the Resolutions of the UN Security Council,” he said.

In October, the European Council had decided to start “a positive dialogue” with Turkey, on the explicit condition that “Turkey should start constructive efforts to definitively end illegal actions against Greece and Cyprus”.

Dendias stressed that Turkey behaved in the complete opposite way, escalating its illegal actions in a region that overlaps the Greek continental shelf and ignoring the call to improve its relations with the European Union and its member states.

Against this background, Dendias said, “it appears that there is no room for a positive dialogue, and the EU should prepare and implement promptly the appropriate measures that will compel Turkey to respect international law”.

Turkish Cypriots held a demonstration against the visit with the slogan “No picnic over pain” after Erdogan said he planned to ‘picnic’ in the once Greek Cypriot resort of Varosha.

Erdogan, who had said earlier he may have a “picnic” at Varosha, arrived after dark and as rain battered the area.

President Nicos Anastasiades condemned Erdogan s visit, saying it did nothing to improve the climate for restarting peace talks.