Turkey responds to criticism on Turkish Cyprus opening Varosha
Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Önal had a phone call with U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland on July 21 and discussed bilateral ties and Turkish Cyprus, the Foreign Ministry said.
Önal emphasized Turkey’s full support for the latest steps taken by the Turkish Cyprus on the Varosha issue and the vision of a two-state solution put forward based on sovereign equality, conveying Turkey’s views on this issue to Nuland, the ministry tweeted.
Meanwhile, Turkish Parliament Speaker Mustafa Şentop reacted against European Union and the United States for their criticism over President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s visit to Turkish Cyprus.
The EU does not have the right to have a say in Turkey’s statements regarding Varosha, in the face of this attitude that is against its own rules and attitudes, Şentop said on July 21. ”First, they have to account for their violation of the rules they set. In this way, a double-standard, two-faced attitude takes place before the eyes of the whole world,” Şentop stated.
“Regarding the Greeks, firstly Greece will take care of it, France will take care of it, the European Union will take care of it, America will, but Turkey, one of the guarantor states, will not take care of the Turks in the north. There is no such country, such a world,” he said.
The Turkish Cypriot authorities announced on July 20 a partial reopening of an abandoned town for potential resettlement and change of military status to civilian, drawing a strong rebuke from the rival Greek Cypriots of orchestrating a land grab by stealth.
Addressing the ceremonies on July 20 for the 47th anniversary of the Cyprus Peace Operation, Erdoğan said the opening would be carried out with utmost attention to property rights. The fact that the initiative will first start in the pilot area, which corresponds to 3.5 percent of closed Varosha, reveals how sensitive the Turkish Cypriot authorities are to this issue,” Erdoğan said.
Vice President and High Representative of the EU Commission Josep Borrell expressed concern over the statements, saying, “[The] unilateral decision announced today by President Erdoğan and [Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin] Tatar risks raising tensions on the island compromising return to talks on a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus issue.”
“The EU remains fully committed to the comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem on the basis of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation with political equality, in accordance with the relevant UNSC Resolutions and in line with the principles on which the EU is founded and expects the same of Turkey,’’ Borrell stated.
The United States also condemned the announcement by the Turkish side, saying that the U.S. “views the Turkish Cypriot actions in Varosha, with the support of Turkey, as provocative, unacceptable and incompatible with their past commitments to engage constructively in settlement talks.’’
In a statement, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged the Turkish Cypriots and Turkey to reverse the decision. “The United States is working with like-minded partners to refer this concerning situation to the U.N. Security Council and will urge a strong response,’’ he said.