Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar, ‘House president’ in the north Zorlu Tore and Famagusta ‘mayor’ Ismail Arter on Tuesday accompanied Turkish Grand National Assembly president Mustafa Şentop on a visit to the fenced-off areas of Varosha.
Speaking to Turkey’s national broadcaster, Şentop said that “the closed off Varosha is now open,” remarking that this was a significant move that has “upset the playing field”.
From 1983 to today, Turkey and ‘TRNC’ have attended talks in good faith in hopes of finding a solution, with the recognition of the de facto state an important step, he said, but “it turns out that the Greek Cypriot side has no intention of reaching an agreement because they basically do not accept the existence of Turkish Cypriots on the island”.
It is not possible for this issue to remain unsolved, he added. “It needs to be approached with a new paradigm, a new perspective”.
He went on to praise Tatar’s policies, that is the support of a two-state solution, “which Turkey has supported from the beginning,” adding that “the reality is that there are two different states on the island.
“After accepting this reality, any negotiations or talks will be held between two states”.
Şentop said the opening of Varosha has worried the Greek Cypriot leadership because it was proof that there are no other options than recognising ‘TRNC’’s authority, especially given the interest generated among former residents and foreign visitors.
“Inshallah (god willing) steps will be taken to recognise ‘TRNC’,” he said speaking from the beach in Varosha.
For his part, Tatar said that the opening of the area has brought along economic and touristic growth, and that politically it will strengthen the ‘Turkish state’ (meaning the de facto government) in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Echoing Şentop, he reiterated his support for a two-state solution based on sovereign equality between the two states.
Şentop is expected to attend a ‘parliament’ session and meet with ‘House president’ Zorlu Tore before departing from Cyprus later in the evening.