Turkish-Cypriot Leader Lauds Opening Abandoned Varosha Resort

Αssociated Press

A faded shop sign is displayed above a rusting fence preventing access to the gutted souvenir shop in Varosha as sightseers walk in the recently opened suburb on Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. (AP Photo/Nedim Enginsoy)

NICOSIA -- Hardline Turkish-Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar said the partial reopening of the Varosha ghost town resort on the occupied side of the island has helped that territory politically and economically.

Speaking to the Anadolu Agency (AA) on the first anniversary of the start of the gradual opening of Varosha after 46 years, Tatar said it would bring Turkish tourists even though the town is crumbling away and has no infrastructure.

He said that the move didn't violate United Nations resolutions recommending property be returned to those who were living there when Turkey invaded in 1974 and that Greek-Cypriots could petition for that.

"Applicants to the Immovable Property Commission will be able to regain their properties. It is their choice for the Greeks to settle here again and bring them into the economy. They can come or sell if they wish,” he said.

Tatar made the move to back Erdogan who wanted it done and said that it was done with a change in policy and concurrent with their demands the UN recognize the isolated territory only Turkey accepts as a state.

“That change in policy is that instead of a solution on a federal basis, which has not yielded any results for 50 years, there should be a struggle for a two-state solution in Cyprus from now on,” said Tatar.

That would bring acceptance of an occupying Turkish army in a European Union, as the legitimate Greek-Cypriot government is a member of the bloc that Turkey has fruitlessly been trying to join since 2005, prospects worsening under Erdogan.

Varosha was a famous resort area that had more than 100 hotels with 10,000 beds and drew celebrities but since 1974 only the Turkish military had been allowed there before the partial reopening.