Turkey must cease hostility at Varosha and resume talks on Cyprus

For months now, the Left in the European Parliament has warned of Turkey’s provocation in and around Cyprus, and the likely consequences of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s threats to open the enclosed area of Famagusta. Sadly, those fears have come true and Left MEPs have strongly condemned such action in the Brussels plenary today.

Turkish provocations and illegal activities against the Republic of Cyprus are part and parcel of its overall aggressive stance in the wider region of Eastern Mediterranean. Yet, in addition to that, they also pose an imminent threat to the future of the negotiations and the prospects for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem.

Along with Turkish Cypriot ‘prime minister’ Ersin Tatar, Erdoğan recently contravened United Nations Security Council resolutions by reopening the coastal zone in the sealed-off area of Varosha. With this gross violation of international law, Left MEPs have expressed their deep concern at Turkey’s new and divisive fait accompli in Cyprus.

Speaking at the Brussels plenary, Georgios Georgiou (AKEL, Cyprus) said:

“Famagusta, the easternmost city in the EU, has been occupied by Turkish troops since August 1974. Its persecuted inhabitants are still waiting for the day of their return.”

“The situation in Cyprus is worsening. Erdoğan’s and Ersin Tatar’s plans, with the opening of part of Varosha and its impending settlement, transcends a new fait accompli.”

“The settlement of Famagusta will be the tombstone for the solution of the Cyprus problem: Erdoğan and Tatar are already talking about a two-state solution,” he added. 

Such illegal actions of Turkey have undermined the prospects for the resumption of meaningful direct talks on a comprehensive solution of the Cyprus issue: on the agreed basis for a bicommunal bizonal federation with political equality, as prescribed in the Security Council Resolutions.

Georgiou added: “Dozens of statements, reports and resolutions by the EU and UN, in particular Resolutions 550 and 789, call on Turkey to return the city to its rightful residents.”

“Erdoğan ‘s provocation can no longer be tamed. After Syria and Libya, it is now in Nagorno-Karabakh. He brazenly curses European leaders. He provokes France and Germany. He continues his provocations against Cyprus and Greece both on land and at sea.”

“Either he becomes rational or targeted sanctions must be imposed.”

The Left in the European Parliament has urged Ankara to respect the Berlin agreement of November 2019 and to engage in the peace process concretely. The Turkish president must also accept that negotiations shall resume from where things were left off at Crans Montana, and to enter the process in a spirit of good faith to reach a comprehensive solution.

We also urge the EU to take a clear and strong stance against the continuing provocations by Ankara, to demand that Turkey refrains from realising its plans for the illegal settlement of Varosha, and to commit to the resumption of the peace negotiations on the agreed basis.

“The problems in Cyprus can be solved ONLY with a meaningful and honest dialogue. With the resumption of negotiations from the point where they stopped in Crans Montana and in the context of the Guterres Framework. For a solution of a Bi-Zonal Bicommunal Federation with political equality. For sharing maritime wealth for the benefit of the citizens of Cyprus, Greece and Turkey. To finally save the EU’s credibility and dignity. To pacify the region,” the Cypriot MEP concluded.




Photo courtesy of Marco Fieber on Flickr

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