GCs Missed 10 Opportunities to Regain Varosha

North Cyprus News - Varosha - MarasThe Greek Cypriots rejected the previous 10 opportunities presented to them up until the present day to return to Maraş (Varosha), Greek Cypriot daily ‘Alithia’ has written.

In a two-page article, it brought attention to the guaranteed risk of losing the sealed-off Famagusta suburb, which has been kept under special status for nearly a half a century.

In a featured article headlined “10 missed opportunities regarding Maraş (Varosha)”, the paper notes that “by rejecting the English/American/Canadian Plan, the Gobi Map, the Cuellar Charts, Cuellar’s Combined Documents, the Gali Ideas Series, the Annan Plan, we also rejected the residents’ opportunity to return, even non-reciprocally”.

The article emphasised that following the closure of a large part of Maraş (Varosha) after 1974, the fact that it was not resettled like other areas, changed the status quo in the area and kept alive the hopes of those who had lived in Maraş (Varosha) that, one day, they might be able to return.

The newspaper went on to say that, since then, multiple and incredible opportunities were presented to former residents of the area, either as part of a holistic solution or part of a solution which would protect the status quo.

Alithia wrote that:

North Cyprus News - Rauf-Denktas“In July 1978, Rauf Denktaş, after four years, pressured by the US arms embargo on Turkey, had offered to return 35 thousand homes in Varosha, as a gesture of goodwill, in return for the beginning of peace negotiations. The Greek Cypriot side rejected the proposal as if tossing away a banana peel. The suggestion was presented in the morning, President Spyros Kyprianou refused the offer in his speech at a rally held in the evening.

“Four months later, in November 1978, the British-American-Canadian solution plan for the return of Maraş was imposed, with the condition that the Greek Cypriot side would participate in the settlement negotiations. On the basis of that plan, the inhabitants of Maraş would return under UN administration and keep their homes regardless of the outcome of the negotiations. Even if the solution plan was initially accepted by DISI and AKEL, we later rejected it at the suggestion of Moscow. We said we refused because of where the idea had originated.

“In the spring of 1981, the UN proposed the extradition of Maraş from Turkish control and the opening of Nicosia Airport with two arrivals and two departures (a package of mini-confidence measures), as well as the signing of a Declaration of Reason to grant any legitimacy to the Turkish Cypriot State.

“In a 70-page expert report written by Ian Brownlie QC, our legal adviser, presented the view that the proposed remedy (ie opening Nicosia Airport with two arrivals and two departures) does not constitute an explicit or implicit recognition of the Turkish Cypriot state. Six months later in October 1981, the UN’s first official map (Hugo Gobbi Map) positioned Maraş in the Greek Cypriot region. The Gobbi Map was approved by UN Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim and his successor Havier Peres De Cuellar. Cuellar used the map as a backdrop to the territorial aspect of the August 1983 ‘Indicators’ initiative. We rejected the Cuellar Indicators, which led to the resignation of then Foreign Minister Nicos Rolandis. Both De Cuellar’s Combined Papers (1985-86) and the Gali Ideas Series (1992) contained items related to the extradition of Maraş. We rejected both initiatives.

North Cyprus News - Varosha“The Annan Plan (April 24, 2004) explicitly recommended that Maraş residents return on August 4, 2004 two and a half months later, if we had said yes to the plan in the referendum. We refused. The tenth and last opportunity for Maras’ return was in Crans-Montana in the summer of 2017 – not successful.

“Despite the weakness of occupation and return to life for 45 years, Maraş waited for us as dead and abandoned. Nearly half a century it has waited for us until we have reached the obvious risk of loss. Preserved as a special case for 45 years under the absolute control of the Turkish occupation army and Ankara, Maraş is on the verge of becoming a part of the Turkish Cypriot ‘pseudo-state’ for the first time. The ‘pseudo-state’ will expand for the first time and take Maraş. It threatens the administrative boundaries of the ‘pseudo-state’ with regional expansion.”

TAK News Agency

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