Cyprus Mail

Cyprus will take steps to prevent opening of Varosha by TCs

The Varosha coastline

The government on Friday said it would take all necessary diplomatic and political measures to prevent any plans by Turkey in the closed-off town of Varosha.

According to government spokesman Kyriacos Kousios, though Nicosia did not wish to make the Cyprus problem all about Famagusta, its standing position remains that “Famagusta belongs to its legal residents, who are the sole beneficiaries.”

Kousios was commenting on the round-table discussion expected to take place on Saturday in Varosha, on various aspects as regards the possibility of opening the closed-off town.

According to reports, Turkish vice president Fuat Oktay, who is in charge of Turkish Cypriot-related affairs within the Turkish government, along with Turkey’s Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul will attend the discussion.

“The government will take all necessary measures, diplomatic and political, to prevent any plans by the occupation forces aiming to make use of Famagusta in any way,” Koushios said.

In the meantime, Famagusta municipality announced that its council would hold an extraordinary meeting on Saturday afternoon at the local authority’s cultural centre in Dherynia to discuss a series of measures against “the latest provocative acts by Turkey and part of the Turkish Cypriot ‘officials’.”

The municipality also announced that it would resist with all its power any actions concerning Varosha that are not in line with UN resolutions, while calling on Turkish Cypriots who are also against such plans to support the Famagusta refugees in their struggle.

It also said that the return of Varosha to its rightful owners would be an incentive for the solution of the Cyprus problem.

The round table discussion is being organised by the Turkish Union of Bar Associations. Turkish Cypriot ‘prime minister’ Ersin Tatar and ‘foreign minister’ Kudret Ozersay are to also participate as well as law professors, former ambassadors and representatives of tourism organisations.Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci was reportedly not invited.

The ‘government’ in the north announced last year they would open Varosha. Ozersay said this week that the meeting will be a brainstorming session which will lead to a road map.

He also said that to avoid the issue from being exploited for election purposes, the steps agreed at the meeting will be implemented after the elections, adding that work on the fenced-off city will continue. Ozersay said that the results of the inventory study on buildings and other infrastructure  conducted within the fenced-off city will be shared at the roundtable meeting.

The event was criticised mainly by left wing politicians in the north while Turkish Cypriot lawyers said they would not attend despite being invited to co-organise it, arguing that it would be inappropriate to attend such a meeting before the elections.

The elections for the next Turkish Cypriot leader are set to take place in April.

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