Public buildings to be opened in Varosha: Tatar
Hande Fırat - FAMAGUSTA
It was North Cyrpus’ right to open Varosha, which was a tourist area of Famagusta before 1974 and was abandoned until 2020, and the next step is to open the public institutions, North Cyprus leader Ersin Tatar has said in an exclusive interview.
“We waited 47 years for the deal, but the Greeks gave up every time,” Tatar told daily Hürriyet, noting that it was North Cyprus’ right to open the abandoned town, which was known as a ghost town.
The number of people visiting Maraş has exceeded 750,000, despite the pandemic, the president added.
“The next stage in Maraş may be the opening of public buildings, which are among the Greek and British buildings on the lands belonging to the Ottoman foundations.”
Noting that the second year of the town’s opening will be celebrated with a concert on Oct. 8, Tatar said, “The most beautiful beach in the world, there is no such anywhere else. I try to come often as I find peace here.”
A portion of the region, about 3.5 percent of the total area, was reopened in October 2020, with people welcomed daily to visit between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.
Maraş was abandoned after a 1984 U.N. Security Council resolution that said only original inhabitants could resettle in the town.
Entry was forbidden except for Turkish army personnel stationed in Turkish Cyprus.
Tatar also criticized Washington’s lifting of the arms embargo on Greek Cyprus, saying, “Türkiye, Greece and the U.K. are the guarantor countries in Cyprus. How is it possible for the Greek Cypriot to enter into different agreements?”
Describing the U.S. move as “unlawful,” Tatar said it is likely to increase the tension.
“To arm the island is to go beyond defense, it is siege and a challenge to Türkiye.”
If needed, Türkiye can make additional military reinforcements within an hour, the president added.
“Neither we nor Türkiye have eyes on the other side. All we want is to be able to continue our security in peace and tranquility.”
On Sept. 16, the U.S. totally lifted the arms embargo on Greek Cyprus for a year, which started in 1987, and partially lifted it two years ago.
Greek Cypriot leader Nikos Anastasiades called the decision a “milestone.”
Ankara called on the U.S. to “reconsider the decision” and “pursue a balanced policy towards the two sides on the island.”
The U.S. State Department said the reason behind the decision was to “decrease the Russian influence on the region.”
According to the Greek Cypriot media, Anastasiades learned about the decision on a phone call with Blinken and then thanked U.S. Senator Robert Menendez, a prominent U.S.-Greek lobby figure, for his efforts on the decision.
Following the decision, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias tweeted, “I welcome and express my deep satisfaction for the decision of Blinken regarding the full lifting of the arms embargo by the U.S.”