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Israel Anxious Over Turkey's Move to Open Varosha on Cyprus

Αssociated Press

A Turkish military guard post with a Turkish flag, left, and Turkish Cypriot breakaway flag with the Varosha or Famagusta, the abandoned city, in the background, prior to the Turkish President visiting the Turkish occupied part of the island at the north, in Dherynia, Cyprus, Monday, July 19, 2021. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

Israel has joined condemnation for Turkey's plans to further reopen the abandoned Varosha resort on the occupied side, the denunciations doing nothing to stop it yet.

Meeting with Cypriot foreign chief Nikos Christodoulides in Jerusalem, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said Israel is aligned with Cyprus and that, “We share the deep concern over the provocative moves that Turkey is making in Cyprus,” all complaints being ignored.

The ministers discussed “the necessary steps that can be taken on the matter,” the Foreign Ministry said, reported The Jerusalem Post said, as they used careful diplomatic language to reveal nothing and with nothing that can really be done.

Israel has repeatedly expressed support for Cyprus after Turkish-Cypriot new hardline leader Ersin Tatar – who said he's following the dictates of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan – announced the Varosha plans.

Those contravene United Nations resolutions, the UN Security Council – over the objections of the island's former ruler The United Kingdom – also blasting Turkey for the move.

“Israel is following with deep concern recent unilateral Turkish actions and statements regarding the status of Varosha,” the Foreign Ministry said earlier. “Israel reiterates its solidarity and full support for Cyprus,” all that it can do.

Turkey is the only country that recognizes the northern third occupied after unlawful 1974 invasions that have left Turkish-Cypriots isolated while the legitimate Greek-Cypriot government is a member of the European Union.

Erdogan has given up any idea of reunification following the collapse of talks in July, 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana after he and then Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci said they would never remove a 35,000-strong army on the occupied side and wanted the right of further military intervention.

Erdogan and Tatar now insist on two states and permanent partition along with demanding the world recognize the unlawful republic even as Turkey also continues to drill for oil gas in Cypriot waters, ignoring soft European Union sanctions.

Relations between Israel and Greece and Cyprus have prospered, the paper noted, with deals in in the energy sector, where they are working together on the EastMed natural-gas pipeline, as well as military cooperation.

Meanwhile, ties between Israel and Turkey have worsened with Erdogan accused of harboring Hamas terrorists, accusing Israel of genocide and urging Palestinians to go to ward with Israel. He expelled Israel's Ambassador.