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Cyprus Will Revoke Passports Given Occupying Turkish-Cypriot Officials

Αssociated Press

(AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

Upset over Turkey's plans to further reopen the abandoned resort of Varosha on the occupied northern third of the island, Cyprus' legitimate Greek-Cypriot government will revoke passports for Turkish-Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar and 13 other officials.

Those provide the Turkish-Cypriot officials with European Union passports as the occupied territory is not a member of the bloc that Turkey has fruitlessly been trying to join since 2005.

Government spokesman Marios Pelekanos did not specify the identity of the targeted officials but said that the decision was over Varosha, reported Euronews. It wasn't said while Turkish-Cypriot officials were given Cypriot passports.

Apart from Turkey, no other country in the world recognizes the isolated occupied Turkish-Cypriot side but Tatar said when is as the United Nations General Assembly opening in September he will demand recognition.

That's part of his call for two separate states and permanent partition of the island split by an unlawful Turkish invasion in 1974, with some 35,000 Turkish troops still stationed there.

"The cabinet has decided to revoke, not renew or issue Republic of Cyprus passports to a number of people who participate in the pseudo-state cabinet or are members of the Varosha opening committee," Pelekanos said without explaining why they got them in the first place.

The actions of these officials "undermine the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and security of the Republic of Cyprus," he said.

"Their hostile actions against the Republic of Cyprus promote the implementation of Turkey's plans to change the status of Varosha, contrary to UN resolutions," he added.

Local media reported that Tatar had obtained a passport in 2000, but he said he had never used it and would gladly return it.

It is estimated that more than 100,000 Turkish Cypriots hold Republic of Cyprus identity cards or passports, the site also said.

Tatar said the move to take away his passport was retaliatory and designed to undermine the self-declared Turkish-Cypriot republic, said Reuters. He doesn't recognize the legitimate Cypriot government, only its passports.

"The decision by the Greek Cypriot side to revoke some of the passports of the Turkish-Cypriots is another proof that the 'Republic of Cyprus' has been transformed into an entirely Greek Cypriot state and that respect is not being shown to the legitimate rights of the Turkish Cypriot side in any way," Tatar told Reuters in a statement.

Turkey's pro-government newspaper The Daily Sabah, a propaganda mouthpiece for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, noted that the Cypriot government of President Nicos Anastasiades was caught in a scandal selling passports to rich foreigners without vetting them, including criminals.

Tatar is the son of a prominent technocrat who acted as an adviser in talks leading to the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus in 1960 after independence from Britain, the paper also reported.