Turkish Cypriots advance work to open fenced-off Varosha

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The Turkish Cypriots are continuing infrastructure works to open up part of the fenced-off abandoned ghost town of Varosha, in Turkey-occupied Famagusta.

CNA photographer Katia Christodoulou revisited the area when the crossings opened on 4 June, after 15 months due to the Covid pandemic.

Photographic and video evidence shows that work on the new part of Chrysi Akti beach (golden coast) that extends to the Venus Hotel and will be accessible to the public is almost complete.

That part of the beach is where Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan visited on 15 November 2020 and had lunch with the Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar.

Palm trees have been planted along the path that has been built leading to the beach and a closed canteen.

New umbrellas and sunbeds have been placed on the beach, which is accessible but not for use.

Part of Chrysi Akti has been open since 1975, and three hotels are in front of it, but their use was restricted to the Turkish occupation army.

That area is no longer accessible, and people cannot pass through it, as was the case when the fenced-off opened last October.

Work is being carried out in the once strictly inaccessible military area,  a large piece of land has been levelled, but there is no indication what for.

Cyclists and several police officers are on the roads that are open and accessible.

Surveillance cameras are everywhere.

Plants, grass, and trees have been removed from several house front gardens. Access to buildings is no longer allowed, and wooden stakes with ropes have been placed everywhere.

There are not many pedestrians or cars on the streets, apart from vehicles of the Turkish army.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

UN Security Council resolution 550 (1984) considers attempts to settle any part of Varosha by people other than its inhabitants as inadmissible and calls for the transfer of this area to the administration of the UN.

UN Security Council resolution 789 (1992) also urges that with a view to the implementation of resolution 550 (1984), the area under the control of the United Nations Peace-keeping Force in Cyprus must be extended to include Varosha.

On 8 October 2020, the Turkish side opened part of Varosha, a once flourish holiday resort, to the public for the first time since 1974.

Both the UN Secretary-General and the EU condemned the action, while the UN Security Council called for the move to be reversed. (Source CNA)