Turkey’s plans to establish a diplomatic consulate in the ghost town of Famagusta, also known in Greek as Ammochostos, on the northern third of Cyprus occupied since an unlawful 1974 invasion has drawn fire from the legitimate government of the island.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, during a visit there and to the abandoned resort of Varosha in the seaside town that had drawn celebrities and the wealthy before being taken over and left, said the consulate would be opened as Turkey also plans to rebuild the holiday area.
Cavusoglu told a gathering in Yialousa, in the Karpas peninsula that it would be “our 243th mission in the world,” the Cyprus Mail said, adding he later tweeted: “No one will have the power to break the Turkish Cypriot bond with the motherland,.”
Only Turkey recognizes the self-declared republic on the occupied land at the same time Turkey has been trying since 2005 to join the European Union, to which the legitimate government – which Turkey doesn’t recognize – is a member and bars Cypriot ships and planes.
Cypriot government spokesman Prodromos Prodromou tweeted back that that consulates were opened only on the basis of international law and not through unofficial announcements or declarations instead.
“A consulate is being established by countries who consult each other and on the basis of international law. What is a ‘consulate’ in an occupied and forcibly looted area, without the slightest recognition from any other country? A lair of illegality and a manifestation of barbarism, perhaps?” he fired back.
Cypriot’s main parties also blasted Turkey’s announcement with ruling DISY leader Averof Nephytou saying that, “We strongly condemn Turkey’s continuing challenges in Cyprus, such as yesterday’s position of the Turkish foreign minister to open a so-called consulate in occupied Famagusta. “It is unacceptable but at the same time, unfortunately, Turkey’s positions are clear.”
The main opposition AKEL spokesman Stefanos Stefanou said, “This is a new illegality and challenge at the expense of Cyprus and international law,” and that it would further undermine any change of reunification, especially with Turkey sending two drills ships into the island’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEA) to hunt for energy.
The Cyprus government has said that it wouldn’t agree to any offer to pay the fotrmer residents of Famagusta who had to flee when Turkey bombed the town and then seized it and as it’s planning to violate a United Nations resolution that only the original residents of Varosha could return to their homes and properties.