EU to discuss Turkey’s ‘illegal actions' in Cyprus

The European Union Foreign Affairs Council will discuss Turkey’s “unlawful” actions in Cyprus in a Luxembourg meeting on Monday, the foreign ministry of the Republic of Cyprus said.

Turkey’s actions in Varosha, a resort town in northern Cyprus that was vacated and fenced off after the island split along ethnic lines following the Turkish invasion in 1974, will be on the EU foreign minister’s agenda, along with relations with Gulf countries and developments in Afghanistan, the ministry said on Sunday.

Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides will also brief his European counterparts on Turkey’s activities in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the island, it said.

The self-styled Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) partially re-opened Varosha to visitors in October last year and cleared part of its beach, prompting condemnation from Greece, the European Union and the United States, which labelled the moves as violations of United Nations regulations.

On July 20, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Ersin Tatar, the president of the TRNC, announced plans to re-open additional parts of Varosha. By lifting a military status for part of the town, 3.5 percent of the area will be granted civilian status, Tatar and Erdoğan said.

On July 24, the United Nations Security Council unanimously condemned the Turkish authorities’ announcement and insisted that Turkey refrain from implementing the plans.

A presidential statement by the UNSC, which all 15 members approved, said that no actions should be carried out in relation to Varosha that are not in accordance with its resolutions.

The Republic of Cyprus, controlled by Greek Cypriots, is the only recognised government on the island, which was divided along ethnic lines since the 1974 invasion, sparked by a brief Greek Cypriot coup backed by the military junta then ruling Greece. Tatar and Erdoğan are calling on the international community to recognise the TRNC as a legitimate government as a condition for re-opening U.N.-backed reunification talks for the island. 

A U.N. Security Council resolution adopted in 1984 says that any attempts to settle any part of Varosha by people other than its original inhabitants is “inadmissible”. A 1992 resolution that affirms the 1984 decision calls for the fenced-off resort town to be put under the U.N. peacekeeping force in Cyprus’ (UNFICYP) control.


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