Greek leadership reacts to latest Erdogan provocation promising to open up portion of Cypriot ghost town of Varosha

Tuesday, 20 July 2021 23:42
UPD:23:45
EPA/KATIA CHRISTODOULOU

Καταστραμμένα και ερειπωμένα ξενοδοχεία στα κατεχόμενα. 

epa04202865 Destroyed and deserted hotels are seen in an area used by the Turkish military, in the Turkish occupied area, in the abandoned coastal city of Varosha in Famagusta, Cyprus, 12 May 2014. This situation has become an emblem of the country's division between Turks and Greeks. In 40 years, nobody lives in the town, which remains heavily guarded by the Turkish army and twists of barbed wire. The European Court of Human Rights has on 12 May 2014 ordered the Turkish government to pay 90 million euros (124 million dollars) in damages for human rights abuses over its occupation of northern Cyprus. The ruling follows an earlier ruling in the case 13 years ago, in which was found Turkey guilty of violating the rights of Greek Cypriots. Cyprus has been split since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded the northern third of the island in response to a Greek-inspired coup aimed at uniting the island with Greece.

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Greek and Cypriot leadership reacted angrily on Tuesday, the 47th anniversary of the Turkish invasion of the island republic, to the latest provocation by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who in statements from occupied Cyprus said he and the Turkish-Cypriot pseudo-state will "open up" a small portion of the coastal Varosha ghost town.

In an announcement earlier in the day, the Greek foreign ministry first referred to an illegal occupation of more than one-third of the island, while paying tribute to "those who resisted the invader and especially to the fallen."

"All of Hellenism continues to live with the drama of the thousands of missing, displaced and enclaved people on Cyprus," the ministry said, adding: "Greece, in coordination with the Republic of Cyprus, is working for a just and viable solution for the Cyprus issue, a solution based on the UN Security Council resolutions."

In his message, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis noted that ".. time may pass, but no one forgets... our message for a fair solution, with the island united and without occupation troops, remains strong, real and totally active."

Hours later, Greece's foreign affairs ministry thoroughly condemned the latest Erdogan provocation regarding the reopening of Varosha. 

The ministry said the decision changes the status of the closed-off and uninhabited area, in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.

"Greece condemns in the strongest way possible today's announcement of the Turkish president to reopen part of the closed-off city of Varosha," it stated, citing the UNSC resolutions 550 (1984), 789 (1992), and 1251 (1999) and conclusions of the European Council, "which call on Turkey to avoid unilateral and provocative actions that destabilize the region."

On his part, Greek Foreign Affairs Minister Nikos Dendias briefed US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland over Turkey's illegal actions regarding Varosha, in a phone call on Tuesday, the minister posted on his Twitter account.

 

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