Israel expresses ‘deep concern’ over ‘provocations’ in Cyprus

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on Monday expressed solidarity with Cyprus as Turkey continues to consolidate its presence in the northern part of the ethnically divided island, the Jerusalem Post reported.

“We share the deep concern over the provocative moves that Turkey is leading in Cyprus,” the newspaper cited Lapid as saying in a meeting with Cyprus Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides in Jerusalem.

The remarks arrive as Turkey last week announced plans to reopen parts of the island's long-abandoned resort town of Varosha, in a move that runs contrary to U.N. Security Council resolutions. Ankara’s decision has triggered ire from Cyprus’s internationally recognised Greek Cypriot government while being met with a wave of disapproval from the European Union.

 Varosha, known as Maraş in Turkish, has been uninhabited since Turkey invaded the northern third of Cyprus in 1974 and established the internationally unrecognized Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). 

Cyprus has been divided along ethnic lines since. The internationally recognised Republic of Cyprus controls the southern two-thirds of the island, and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), only recognised by Turkey, the remainder. 

Israel’s Foreign Ministry last week had said the country was following with “deep concern recent unilateral Turkish actions and statements regarding the status of Varosha,’’ while reiterating Israel’s “solidarity and full support’’ for Cyprus.

Military cooperation and participation in the Eastern MediterraneanGas Forum, have brought Israel and Greece and Cyprus closer in recent years.

Meanwhile,ties between Turkey and Israel have reached successive lows over the last decade, with their leaders repeatedly clashing in public over the Israel-Palestine conflict.

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