The Union of Turkish Bar Associations has issued a final communiqué for the recently held round table on the fenced-off city of Maraş titled “The Legal, Political and Economic Aspects of the Maraş Initiative”.
The communiqué said that the participants of the meeting made up of academics, legal experts and representatives of civil society organizations had reached a consensus on various aspects concerning the fenced-off city.
It pointed out that the European Union (EU), in violation of international law, had made a huge strategic mistake on May 1, 2004, by allowing South Cyprus to join the bloc before a solution was reached with Turkish Cypriots on the island.
“It has emerged that it is not possible to reach a comprehensive settlement in Cyprus that envisages sharing power and wealth on the basis of political and sovereign equality due to the Greek Cypriot side’s intransigent stance,” the communiqué read.
Highlighting the need to change the status of Maraş which has been closed since 1974, the final communiqué pointed out that the fenced-off city was an extension of Famagusta.
“The sovereignty and land belongs to the TRNC but the properties built on this land might have different owners,” it read.
The communiqué also stated that the TRNC had made historic moves by including a two-state solution and the Maraş initiative in its government program.
It pointed out that the most effective tool to proceed with the reopening of Maraş was the TRNC Immovable Property Commission (IPC).
“The IPC which is recognized by the European Court of Human Rights as an effective domestic remedy is the most suitable tool for this initiative. Within this context, the fenced-off city should be opened in a manner that will bring no detriment to the interests of its pre-1974 residents and rightful owners in accordance with international law and just practices, ” the communiqué read.
It also pointed out that Maraş, in light of the slim chance of a partnership based on political and sovereign equality, should no longer be held as a captive of the Cyprus Problem.
“The issue should be solved in a manner which will be beneficial to the rightful owners, the island and the TRNC,” the communiqué concluded.