Coalition party withdraws Turkish Cypriot government over decision for opening of Varosha
Turkish Cyprus’ coalition partner People’s Party (HP) withdrew from the government on Oct. 6 over a decision to open Varosha’s beaches to public ahead of presidential elections.
HP Leader Yenal Senin said that the decision over the opening of the Varosha region, which has been closed to the public since 1974, was not shared with them. “The integrity of the state is broken, its institutions are disregarded,” he added.
Turkish Cypriot Foreign Minister Kudret Özersay, from the HP, also criticized the announcement and said, “Closed Varosha was perceived as if it was opened under the Turkish Cypriot administration and a move was made for the election.”
He accused Turkish Cyprus’ Prime Minister Ersin Tatar of making an “election investment.”
The coastline of the abandoned town of Varosha in the Turkish Cypriot city of Gazimağusa will reopen on Oct. 8, the prime minister of Turkish Cyprus announced at a ceremony after repair work of the Turkish Cyprus Water Supply Project, which was held in Ankara with the participation of Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The coastline of Varosha will be open for public use as of Oct. 8 morning, Tatar said in a joint news conference with Erdoğan.
The EU’s diplomatic chief on Oct. 7 condemned plans of Turkish Cyprus to reopen part of a long-fenced-off town as a “serious violation” of the U.N. ceasefire agreement on the divided island.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the incident would only exacerbate tensions between Turkey and the bloc, already running high over Ankara’s gas exploration in Cypriot waters. “The opening of this area, which is a closed area according to the ceasefire agreements under the auspices of the U.N. is a serious violation of this agreement,” Borrell told the European Parliament.
He said the bloc would issue a statement on Oct. 7 “asking Turkey to stop this activity.”
“For sure this is not going to help. On the contrary, it’s going to make it more difficult to reach an agreement on an especially difficult situation for all of us on the eastern Mediterranean,” he added.
The Turkish army has kept Varosha fenced off since its Greek Cypriot residents fled when Ankara interfered in clashes in Turkish Cyprus in 1974 in response to an Athens-engineered coup attempting to unite the island with Greece.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed concern on Oct. 6 over Turkey’s decision to open Varosha.
Guterres’ Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said in a statement that the U.N. chief urged all sides to enter into talks to resolve differences and repeated his readiness to arrange such a meeting.