NICOSIA, Cyprus — The most pristine, azure waters lapping in the skirts of uninhabited Varosha contrast harshly with the dilapidated, crumbling buildings lining the shore of the abandoned suburb of Famagusta.
For the very first time in 46 decades, members of the people were allowed on Thursday to get to the shore of Varosha from the breakaway Turkish Cypriot north of ethnically divided Cyprus.
Hundreds filed by way of a gate manned by Turkish Cypriot authorities to walk to a newly paved asphalt road resulting in the shore that was the gem of what was formerly Cyprus’ premier tourist hotel. The street was lined on either side with police tape to stop pedestrians straying into windowless houses and rusting company, a few consumed by decades-old, snake-infested undergrowth.
For many, as one girl draped from the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot flags, it was a moment of pleasure to see a “historical” moment.
For many others, such as Greek Cypriot Varosha native Kyriakos Charalambides seeing on TV out of his Nicosia house, it was a moment of sorrow and bitterness. “Although I anticipated this, I shuddered as I saw these familiar areas,” Charalambides, a playwright, told the Associated Press. “It is a sorrow that can’t be consoled… Varosha is missing.”
The conclusion, by Turkey as well as the Turkish Cypriot state recognized only by Ankara, to start the mile-long stretch of the shore was roundly condemned by the island’s Greek Cypriot-run, internationally-recognized authorities.
Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades condemned the launching as a”flagrant breach of global law” and United Nations Security Council resolutions which believe efforts to settle any part of Varosha — Maras in Turkish — by anybody aside from its inhabitants as”inadmissible.” The settlements also call for the region to be moved to U.N. management.
Greek Cypriots dread the shore opening is simply the first step to Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots fully taking over Varosha.
He repeated the”unilateral” actions could hinder efforts at relaunching postponed talks to reunify the island.
The two U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell expressed concern in the actions they stated may heighten tensions and sabotage new attempts at restarting talks.
Former Varosha citizens staged a demonstration Thursday in a crossing point across a U.N. controlled buffer zone to voice their resistance to the launching. The checkpoint — just one of nine from that Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots can cross on each side — was closed on the Turkish Cypriot side as part of steps to counter the spread of COVID-19.
“How can someone not be upset about what they’ve seen now?” “Varosha ought to have been passed over to its rightful owners… that is emotional pressure.”
But Turkish Cypriot officials insist that the move would be to everybody’s advantage and the rights of Greek Cypriot property owners are not affected because it is just the shore that is opening for today.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu explained a list on all of the possessions within Varosha is now underway to ascertain what’s going to happen with the remainder of Varosha.
However, for today, the launching of this seafront and a few streets where there’s not any private land was significant,” Cavusoglu stated following a meeting on Thursday with his Greek counterpart, Nikos Dendias.
“It will be practical to take such actions which are to the advantage of that honor private property rights, without breaking up U.N. decisions,” Cavusoglu explained.
The opening happened only three times before Turkish Cypriots elect a new leader to reflect them in U.N.-facilitated peace discussions.