Saturday, 20 January, 2022
President Ersin Tatar said that a proposal put forward regarding the return of Varosha (Maraş) could not be accepted by the TRNC, Turkish daily Sabah reported.
The Greek Cypriot proposal is that in return for Varosha, Ercan Airport could be open to direct flights under the auspices of the United Nations.
Addressing a conference on ‘The Role of the TRNC in the Blue Homeland*’, which was held in the Turkish province of Kayseri last week, Tatar said that a number of proposals would be made by the Greek Cypriot regarding confidence-building measures in Cyprus.
On October 8, 2020, Varosha which has been occupied by the Turkish military for 47 years, was partially reopened to visitors by North Cyprus, a move which sparked an outcry from the Greek Cypriot authorities, the EU and the UN Security Council. Since that time thousands of visitors have been inside the ghost town of Varosha.
The city of Varosha is protected by a 1984 U.N. Security Council (UNSC) resolution, stating that the ghost town can only be resettled by its original inhabitants. If the Greek Cypriots had accepted the 2004 UN plan to reunify Cyprus, (Annan plan), Varosha would now be back under Greek Cypriot control and its residents back in their homes. Despite this, the majority of Greek Cypriots voted against the plan, while Turkish Cypriots voted in its favour.
“When we look at the proposal, it is said that we should return Varosha and that Ercan Airport may be opened to direct flights under the auspices of the United Nations. We cannot accept such a thing,” said Tatar. “Varosha has provided great service to both the economy and tourism of the TRNC,” he noted. Life has begun there, President Tatar said.
Tatar went on to say that so far, 400,000 people have visited Varosha during the coronavirus pandemic, adding, “Hopefully, there will be much more intense movement after the pandemic.”
*Blue Homeland: Mainly used to describe Turkey’s maritime claims in the eastern Mediterranean.