Nine people, eight Greek Cypriots and one British citizen were briefly interrogated by authorities in the north on Tuesday morning while waiting on Glossa beach in Famagusta for the arrival of a delegation of MEPs on fact-finding mission to the area that borders the fenced-off ghost town of Varosha.
According to CNA, the nine were held up for 15 minutes and had their photos erased from cameras and phones, being told it was a military area and they had to leave.
The nine people then moved to join more Greek Cypriots on the road in front of the Constantia Hotel awaiting the arrival of the MEPs, the agency reported.
The Members of the European Parliament are to conduct a fact-finding mission to the area on Tuesday. The purpose of the mission is to reassess the situation in Famagusta and to raise again the issue of the return of Varosha to its lawful inhabitants on the basis of the provisions of a European Parliament Declaration of 14 February 2012, which calls, among others on the Turkish government to implement UN Security Council resolutions (550) and 789 (1992).
The MEP delegation is from the Committee on Petitions, which kicked-off its meetings on Monday in Nicosia. It comprises members of the Committee Cecilia Wilkstrom (ALDE, SV) – Chair of the delegation, Alberto Cirio (PPE, IT), Rosa Estaras Ferragut (PPE, ES), Sofia Sakorafa (GUE-NGL, GR), Angela Vallina(GUE-NGL, ES) and Igor Soltes (Greens/EFA, SL) as well as ex-officio members Teresa Jimenez – Becerril (EPP, ES), Demetris Papadakis (S&D, CY) and Takis Hadjigeorgiou (GUE-NGL, CY).
The MEPs were due to visit Glossa beach bordering Varosha. Then they will then return to the government-controlled areas, where Wilkstrom and Famagusta Mayor Alexis Galanos will give a press conference at Famagusta Municipality Cultural Centre in Dherynia, which borders the occupied city.
The delegation’s mission takes place in the context of the follow-up to petition 733/2004, 10 years after the Committee’s previous fact-finding visit to the island on 25-28 November 2007. The petition was submitted by Loizos Afxentiou on behalf of the Famagusta Refugee Movement.
In a press conference last week Galanos and MEP Hadjigeorgiou urged people from Famagusta to participate in the visit of the EP Committee on Petitions delegation to demonstrate their will for the return of the city, in accordance with UN resolutions.
Varosha, the fenced, a once-thriving holiday resort been sealed since the 1974 Turkish invasion and according to the UN the Turkish military is responsible for it. Repeated attempts to hand the area to UN administration and its Greek Cypriot lawful inhabitants have so far failed due to the stance of the Turkish army, CNA said.