The Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on Tuesday redoubled its commitment to dividing Cyprus into two states, with the reopening of the ghost district of Varosha, symbol of the partition of this Mediterranean island.
Since its invasion by the Turkish army in 1974 in response to a coup by Greek Cypriot nationalists who wanted Greece to annex the island, this country was divided between the Republic of Cyprus, which is part of the European Union (EU), and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, only recognized by Ankara.
“No progress in the negotiations can take place without accepting that there are two peoples and two States (…). We do not have 50 years to lose with models whose unviability has been demonstrated, “said Erdogan, about the negotiations in the past to reunify the island under a federal state.
These discussions have been stalled since 2017. The UN tried to reactivate and monitor the buffer zone between the two parts of the island in April but this also proved a failure.
«A new negotiation process can only be started between two States (…). For this reason, sovereignty and a status of equality (between the Turkish Cypriots and the Greek Cypriots) must be confirmed ”, defended the Turkish president in the north of Nicosia, the capital divided in two, before a crowd that received waving Turkish flags.
On this visit, which took place in the 47th anniversary of the Turkish invasion of CyprusErdogan accused the Greek Cypriots of “blocking any solution” and of being “dishonest.”
Critical to the EU
He also criticized the “lies” of the European Union, which called “unacceptable” Erdogan’s bid for a Cyprus divided into two states.
The leader of the AKP (Islamic conservatives and nationalists) attended a military parade of Turkish soldiers present in the north of the island, with the participation of Turkish fighters who drew the crescent and star that appear on the Turkish flag in the sky and in northern Cyprus.
Reopening of Varosha
Accompanied by Erdogan, the ‘president’ of Northern Cyprus, Ersin Tatar, announced the start of “the second phase of our Varosha expansion (plan).”
A few days after his electoral victory in October 2020, the Turkish nationalist Tatar announced in Ankara the reopening of Varosha, a beach district that was deserted inhabitants after the invasion in 1974 by the Turkish army, which has since taken control of it.
This announcement scandalized the Greek Cypriots, but also the Turkish Cypriots, as they saw it as a demonstration of Erdogan’s influence over Tatar. The UN Security Council already warned then of “any unilateral action likely to increase pressure on the island.”
“Life will resume in Varosha,” defended the Turkish president on Tuesday, recommending that Greek Cypriot owners ask for a compensation to compensate for the loss of its properties.
The head of American diplomacy, Antony Blink, called Erdogan’s announcement “provocative and unacceptable.”
In Brussels, the head of diplomacy of the European Union, Josep Borrell, expressed its “deep concern” over the announcements by Erdogan and Tatar “about the closed area of Varosha” and denounced the “unacceptable unilateral decision.”
The Russian Chancellor, Sergei Lavrov, also reaffirmed the “adherence of Russia to the resolutions” of the UN after talking with his Cypriot counterpart, Nikos Christodoulides, according to the Russian ministry.
Diplomacy greek called these claims “illegal behavior.” The Greek Minister for Foreign Affairs, Nikos Dendias, will travel to Cyprus on Wednesday to meet with his counterpart, with the Cypriot President, Nicos Anastasiades, and the mayor in ‘exile’ of Famagusta, where the Varosha neighborhood is located.