Tatar reveals plans to open Varosha for settlement

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Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar said the breakaway regime in the north plans to open up fenced off Varosha to people wanting to inhabit the ghost town.

In comments to Turkish Cypriot TV Bayrak, one year since the partial lifting of the military status in the abandoned ghost town, Tatar said authorities in the north are stepping up their efforts to open up the once-famous resort.

He said that “investments made in the area have totally transformed the town of Varosha”.

Tatar said that more than 250,000 people had visited Varosha’s sandy beaches within a year of allowing access to the area.

The Turkish Cypriot leader reaffirmed his insistence on a two-state solution for Cyprus, arguing there is room for two Cypriot states within the EU.

He added he has the backing of Turkey on the issue, arguing: “This policy gives way for a new era in Cyprus, and gives hope for the future”.

Tatar said if Cyprus negotiations are to begin, it must first be considered whether or not there is common ground.

It can be discussed, he added, but a UN resolution is needed to accept sovereign equality.

He argued that there is no other alternative in Cyprus, as there are “two separate people” with different languages, religion, culture, and history.

On October 8, 2020, the Turkish side opened part of the fenced area of Varosha for the first time since the 1974 Turkish invasion.

It was a designated Turkish occupation army military zone up until then.

The European Union has condemned Turkey’s unilateral steps and the “unacceptable” announcements made by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Tatar to reopen Varosha.

The UN Security Council has also condemned the action, expressing deep regret about the “unilateral actions” in Varosha requesting they be rolled back.

UN resolutions state that Varosha should be returned to its original inhabitants, mostly Greek Cypriots, before the 1974 Turkish invasion.