UNSC condemns Turkish President Erdogan’s plans to reopen Cyprus town

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Turkey is facing international criticism over its call for two states in Cyprus and plan to reopen an abandoned coastal resort emptied of Greek Cypriots. On Friday, the UN Security Council condemned Turkey’s announcement and called for an immediate reversal of the action and for all steps taken on Varosha since October last year.

Expressing regret over Turkey’s unilateral action contrary to the UNSC’s resolutions, the 15-member body reiterated that any attempts reopen any part of Varosha by people other than its inhabitants is “inadmissible”.

“The Council reaffirmed its commitment to an enduring, comprehensive and just settlement, in accordance with the wishes of the Cypriot people and based on a bicommunal, bizonal federation with political equality, as set out in relevant Council resolutions,” the statement added.

International condemnation

The UNSC stressed that the reopening of Varosha “could raise tensions on the island and harm prospects for a settlement.” Earlier, the United States, the European Union and the Republic of Cyprus in the southern region condemned Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s plans to restore the isolated town in the north. Washington expressed concerns that Erdogan’s attempts would lead to a “chilling effect” on UN-led efforts for peace efforts and political solution in Cyprus.

However, Turkey later issued a statement, dismissing UNSC’s criticism over its call for a two-state solution in Cyprus and plans to reopen the town of Varosha in northern region of the island. “We reject the Presidential Statement made by the U.N. Security Council (UNSC) on the second phase of the Varosha initiative as well as the statements from various countries which are based on unfounded claims and inconsistent with the realities on the Island,” the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement.

Erdogan’s statement

Earlier this week, Erdogan announced that there should be “two peoples and two states with equal status” during a trip to the north of divided Nicosia. He maintained that UN’s nearly 50 years of efforts to reach a solution in Cyprus have failed so far. “A new era will begin in Maras (Turkish name for Varosha) which will benefit everyone,” Erdogan had said. In addition, Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar has also announced measures to reopen Varosha and removing its military status.

The island of Cyprus was divided in 1974 after a Greek Cypriot coup resulted in Turkey invading the region. For almost 50 years, Varosha, a former high-rise resort in the Mediterranean island, has been deserted under a military zone lying under the control of Turkish government.

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