Famagusta Initiative Campaigns Against Beach Closures

Military close beach - Famagusta

Wednesday, 28 June 2023

The Famagusta Initiative* has called on all organisations to protest against the closure to the public of three kilometres of beach by the military, Yeniduzen reports.

On Tuesday, the newspaper published an article about the fact that three kilometres of coastline between Glapsides Beach and Silver Beach in Famagusta had been closed to the public to protect soldiers sunbathing on the beach from quad bikes.

Famagusta District Governor Özden Keser told Yeniduzen that he had discussed the issue with the military commander and had been informed that the area was “closed only to ATVs” on the grounds that “ATVs (quad bikes) driving along the coastline may endanger the safety of military personnel using the beach.

 “According to the information I have received, the coastline is open to civilian use. It is forbidden to only take photos and enter with vehicles such as ATVs”. However, a Yeniduzen reporter observed that fencing had been erected and there were two guard posts in place.

A statement by the Famagusta Initiative read as follows:

The constitution of Northern Cyprus states that access to beaches is a constitutional right. Despite this, some of the beaches in Northern Cyprus have been either privatised or made inaccessible by permanent interventions.In Famagusta, the situation is much worse than in all parts of the island with access to the shore. 

“Kilometres of coastal areas are under the occupation of military assets. Free access to beaches is not possible in most areas. As a result of this, the city of Famagusta has turned its back on the sea. As if it was not enough that the areas occupied by the military were hindering social and economic development, this year a part of Glapsides Beach was unjustly occupied by the military authorities. Thus, the freedom of movement of the people in Famagusta in the region where they can access the coast is restricted.

“Glapsides beach is the natural heritage of the people of Famagusta, a beach they have established and valued with the island. As the Famagusta Initiative, we raise our voice against this situation…….

“We would like to state that we will not accept this action taken by the military authorities. Likewise, we call on local and central authorities authorised in this regard to act as soon as possible. Glapsides beach should be a symbol of Famagusta people’s bond with the sea and a public space where everyone has equal access. However, the intervention of military authorities in this area means usurping the rights of the people and violating the basic principles of justice.

“In addition, as the Famagusta Initiative, we have difficulties in understanding why the area where the public beaches are located was declared a Military Zone”.

Famagusta Initiative asked what was the threat to security that compels the military to fence off public beaches.

As the Famagusta Initiative, we would like to state that we will do our best to return the military-occupied part of Glapsides Beach to the civilian population. But we cannot do this alone. For this reason, we invite all non-governmental organisations on the island who are sensitive to the issue to join us in the search for this right. But, with a united voice, we can stand up for the rights of the people and ensure that the usurped land on Glapsides Beach is returned to the people.It’s a call to action, not just for the freedom of a beach, but to uphold our shared values”, the statement concluded. 

*Famagusta Initiative is a bi-communal non-governmental organisation formed in 2013 in protest against the ethnic division of Famagusta and the island as a whole.

Beach

Meanwhile, Halkin Sesi published the following: “In some media outlets, the coastline between Glapsides Beach and Silver Beach in Famagusta was declared a military zone by the Cyprus Turkish Peace Command (KTBK) and the 3-kilometre area on the beach was closed to civilian use with barbed wire on the grounds that “ATVs could harm military personnel”. claimed. It was claimed that the soldier, who decided to turn the building, which was used as a “Male Student Dormitory” affiliated to the TAF Education Foundation, within the said 3-kilometre area, into an “army accommodations and social facility”, decided to turn the sea into a private beach for the military personnel who will use the facility. However, these claims turned out to be unfounded.

“In the investigation made by the Famagusta correspondent, it was seen that the area used as Güven Orduevi is within the military zone, including the coast, but is open to the passage of citizens on the coast line. It is quite normal that the use of ATVs and similar vehicles in the region, which is a beach where all citizens can walk comfortably, pose a danger to all of us, both civilians and soldiers. Even if there is a ban on this issue, it is intended to protect us all. Considering that many coastal areas in the country are operated by some businesses, we also see that they are not used so easily by the civilian population. It is also seen that there is only rope, no wire and the line is completely open in the said area”.

Halkın Sesi  Yeniduzen

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