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Von der Leyen calls on Turkey to reverse Varosha moves

eu commission president von der leyen and portugal's pm costa sign declaration in brussels
European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen on Tuesday called on Turkey to “reverse the actions undertaken in Varosha” and reiterated the EU’s commitment to a bizonal, bicommunal federation.

Von der Leyen’s statements came in response to Cypriot MEP Niyazi Kizilyurek’s letter on the involvement of the Turkish government in the affairs of the Turkish Cypriot community.

She said that EU foreign ministers will consider actions at their next meeting should Turkey not reverse its actions.

“The EU’s position on the Cyprus issue is unchanged,” her letter – which was published by Kizilyurek’s office – reads, adding that “the EU remains fully committed to the comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem based on a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation with political equality.”

Efforts to restart the Cyprus talks, let alone resolve the problem, have hit a particularly rocky path following the collapse of formal negotiations in Crans Montana back in 2017.

Since then, the election of Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar has seen the proposal of a two-state solution put on the table and the partial reopening of Varosha.

Von der Leyen further stated that it is crucial for Turkey to commit and contribute constructively to the resumption of negotiations in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

“It is even more important to avoid unilateral action in breach of international law and renewed provocations… we will continue conveying this crucial message to our Turkish interlocutors,” the commission president said.

Last week, Greek ambassador to Cyprus Theocharis Lalakos said that if the Turkish side changes the status of Varosha then it will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to reach a Cyprus settlement.

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