The Turkish Cypriot opposition on Tuesday harshly grilled Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar over the opening of part of the fenced area of Varosha, with some also arguing he does not even know what is going on since Turkey has taken the reins.
Leader of main opposition Republican Turkish Party (CTP) Tufan Erhurman and ‘MP’ of the People’s Party (HP) Kudret Ozersay attacked him on the issue of Varosha.
The attacks come after the visit to the fenced area of Varosha last week of Turkey’s Minister of Environment and Urban Planning Murat Kurum, who announced that works would be carried out there by the state-backed Housing Development Administration of Turkey (TOKİ) and Konya municipality. Kurum was there to prepare the ground for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Varosha on November 15.
Erhurman said that when he had asked Tatar during their meeting on Saturday what was going on in Varosha, the Turkish Cypriot leader said that he had not been informed.
“This is the point we have reached. The turkish minister of environment and urban planning arrives in the country and our interior minister finds out of the visit on TV. Not only is this unacceptable, but it is also beyond comprehension. What’s worse is that this is being done by representatives of a party which advocates for an independent state,” Erhurman said.
He added that it was out of the question to exclude the north’s ‘institutions’ when taking steps on such an important issue.
Ozersay said that the situation over the fenced-off town was “evolving” without the knowledge or consent of the Turkish Cypriots.
If Tatar claims he does not know anything about what is going on in Varosha, he said, it means the ‘state’ is being completely bypassed.
“The process on Varosha started wrong and is going wrong,” Ozersay said, arguing that the latest moves disregard Turkish Cypriot institutions and were inappropriate and undignified.
Ozersay, whose party had formed a coalition with Tatar’s National Unity Party (UBP), resigned last month as ‘deputy prime minister’ after Tatar suddenly announced he would reopen the closed-off Varosha beachfront with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s blessing.
He recalled that the UBP-HP coalition had come to an end for the same reason, Tatar and the UBP’s disregard for the ‘state institutions’. Ozersay was the first in recent years to call for the reopening of Varosha under Turkish Cypriot administration and had accused Tatar at the time of turning the issue into a campaign matter ahead of the Turkish Cypriot leadership elections that took place last month. Ozersay and Erhurman were also candidates.
Tatar on Tuesday refuted Erhurman’s accusations he did not know what was going on in Varosha and said that when he was asked by the CTP leader about the issue, he had given “frank and comprehensive answers.” He accused Erhurman of taking advantage of the issue for his own political gain.
Erhurman said in response that representatives of other political parties were at the meeting and heard what had been said.
Head of the Communal Democracy Party (TDP) Cemal Ozyigit said, however, he was not surprised by Kurum’s visit to Varosha and TOKI’s and Konya municipality’s involvement.
According to Kibris Postasi, Ozyigit said on Tuesday that though some business circles in the north were in favour of the opening of Varosha, they now react after hearing TOKI would take over.
He warned that this was a sign Turkish Cypriots would be excluded from the process.