The EU on Tuesday warned that the bloc’s foreign ministers will consider actions against Turkey at their next meeting if Ankara does not reverse actions in Varosha, which are contrary to UN Security Council Resolutions.

In a written statement on behalf of the EU, High Representative Josep Borrell said the European Union “strongly condemns Turkey’s unilateral steps and the unacceptable announcements made by the Turkish President and the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community on 20 July 2021 on the further reopening of the fenced-off town of Varosha.”

Borrell said the EU welcomes the statement made by the President of the UN Security Council on behalf of the Council last week, and in particular the condemnation and expression of deep regret about the unilateral actions in Varosha that run contrary to the Security Council’s previous resolutions and statements.

“The EU equally calls for the immediate reversal of these actions and the reversal of all steps taken on Varosha since October 2020,” Borrell said. He added that the EU “continues to hold the government of Turkey responsible for the situation in Varosha.”

The announcement last week by Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar on the demilitarisation and opening of 3.5 per cent of the fenced area of Varosha for settlement was presented as a decision of ‘cabinet’ in the north with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan welcoming the move. The fenced area of Varosha, however, is under the control of the Turkish military.

Borrell said the EU continues to be guided by the relevant Security Council resolutions, 550 (1984) and 789 (1992), which consider attempts to settle any part of Varosha by people other than its inhabitants as inadmissible, and which call for the transfer of that area to the administration of the UN.

“No actions should be carried out in relation to Varosha that are not in accordance with those resolutions,” Borrell said, adding that full respect for and implementation of Security Council resolutions also require an immediate end to restrictions imposed on the freedom of movement of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (Unficyp) in the Varosha area.

He reiterated the EU’s position on the need to avoid unilateral actions in breach of international law and renewed provocations, which could raise tensions on the island and compromise the ongoing efforts to seek common ground between the parties towards a lasting settlement of the Cyprus issue in line with relevant Security Council resolutions.

The EU, he said, remains fully committed to a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem on the basis of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation with political equality while it is crucial that Turkey commits and contributes constructively to the resumption of negotiations.

Borrell said (foreign) ministers will consider actions at their next meeting, “in case of non-reversal of Turkey’s actions contrary to UN Security Council Resolutions 550/84 and 789/92” following the statement of the members of the European Council of March 25, 2021, which reaffirmed the determination of the EU, in case of renewed provocations and unilateral actions in breach of international law, to use the instruments and options at its disposal to defend its interests and those of its member states, as well as to uphold regional stability.

The EU foreign ministers are set to hold an informal meeting (Gymnich) on September 2 and 3 in Kranj, Slovenia.

The next Foreign Affairs Council is scheduled for October 18.