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GREEK NEWS

Members of US Congress Urge UN to Stop Turkey’s Varosha Plans

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Varosha is the once-thriving resort town that has been a fenced-off no-man’s-land since the Turkish invasion of 1974. Credit: Rena Choplarou. Illustration; Greek Reporter

Nineteen members of the US Congress have signed a letter addressed to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres urging action against Turkey’s and Turkish Cypriot attempts to reopen Varosha.

Varosha is the southern part of Famagusta that has been fenced off and abandoned since Turkey invaded the north of Cyprus in 1974.

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The Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues initiative launched by its co-chair and co-founder Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY, fellow co-chair Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and Chris Pappas (D-NH), calls on Guterres to “firmly assert the United Nations’ authority to administer and prevent the resettlement of Varosha, pursue the immediate and full implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolutions on Varosha, and examine sanctions against Turkish and Turkish Cypriot attempts to illegally and unilaterally reopen and resettle this city.”

“As members of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues, we are dismayed but not surprised by [Turkish] President [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan’s irresponsible comments rejecting any solution that does not acquiesce to Turkey’s demands to divide Cyprus and her people. We encourage all relevant stakeholders to pursue a solution in line with the various resolutions of the Security Council, but the Republic of Turkey’s consistent provocative behavior demonstrates it is not serious about being a responsible actor in this matter,” the letter says.

Turkey violates UN resolutions on Varosha

The letter outlines the details of Turkish claims in the area and reminds of Ankara’s most recent violations of international law and UN resolutions. It also sounds the alarm over the far-reaching consequences if Turkey’s plans to develop the seaside resort come to fruition.

“On October 6, 2020, you emphasized in a statement that ‘the position of the United Nations on Varosha remains unchanged and is guided by relevant Security Council resolutions’ and stressed the ‘need to avoid any unilateral actions that could trigger tensions on the island and undermine the return to dialogue or the future success of talks.’

“Since your statement, Turkey’s unilateral reopening has not abated, and on July 19-20, 2021 President Erdogan declared part of Varosha to be reopened and administered by the illegitimate Turkish administration on Cyprus,” the letter reminds.

Reopening of Varosha “clouds the prospects for a peaceful future”

“Turkey’s reopening of Varosha – a cultural keystone for Cypriots and a city where the return of refugees and the process of rebuilding a modern metropolis can serve as a building block for a reunited Cyprus – clouds the prospects for a peaceful future,” it adds.

In July, The Security Council of the United Nations (UN) issued a strong statement against Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot regime in regard to the recent announcements about Varosha in Cyprus.

The statement of the UN was issued after an open session of the Security Council which condemned the statements that had been made “by Turkish and Turkish Cypriot leaders.”

The presidential statement of the UN says that the Security Council condemns ”the 20 July announcement by Turkish and Turkish Cypriot leaders on the further reopening of a part of the fenced-off Varosha area in Cyprus, calling for the immediate reversal of that course of action and for the reversal of all steps taken on Varosha since October 2020”.

Related: The Second Death of Cyprus’ Ghost Town of Varosha

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