The US government has condemned the decision by Turkey and Cyprus-Turkey to break away, for reopening abandoned, military-controlled housing estates on the outskirts of an ethnically divided Cypriot city.
US State Department Director General for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland said the move to take over parts of Varosha was “incompatible with UN Security Council resolutions.”
“We urge that the decision be overturned,” said Nuland, Wednesday (21/7), before the Senate foreign relations commission.
Commission Chair Senator Bob Menendez said “this violation of international law is unacceptable.
The government in Cyprus has lodged a formal protest with the United Nations and the European Union, calling the move a covert attempt to gain more territory that could derail peace efforts. They said the five permanent members of the UN Security Council would be notified of what President Nicos Anastasiades called a violation of a council resolution prohibiting any change to the coastal area’s status and calling for Varosha to be returned to its rightful inhabitants.
Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar announced Tuesday that the 3.5 km2 section of Varosha will be returned from military to civilian control so that Greek Cypriots can seek to reclaim their property through the Immovable Property Commission (IPC), the legal body authorized to adjudicate the cases.
The Tatars made the announcement ahead of a military parade attended by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdo memperingatian to mark the 47th anniversary of Turkey’s post-coup coup in Cyprus to unite with Greece. Only Turkey recognizes the Turkish Cypriot declaration of independence, and Erdogan’s government deploys more than 35,000 troops in northern Cyprus.
The island’s internationally recognized government is in the south. Erdoan and Tatars say that permanent peace in Cyprus can only be achieved through the international community’s recognition of the two separate countries, brushing aside decades of negotiations to reach a federation-based reunification agreement.[ka/jm]