VAROSHA – The move by the Turkish-Cypriot side occupying the northern third of the island – bolstered by Turkey – to further open the abandoned resort town of Varosha has drawn a sharp rebuke from the European Union Council.
The council, an informal forum for discussion between heads of state or governments of the 27 EU member states said Turkey should stop trying to upgrade the rogue state on the occupied side, said The Cyprus Mail.
Criticism was particularly directed at the dealings with Varosha, which had partially been reopened although United Nations resolutions call for only the original inhabitants -mostly Greek-Cypriots – to reoccupy homes there.
Cyprus’ Foreign Ministry welcomed the council jumping into the dilemma of the island that’s been split since unlawful Turkish invasions seized territory and where Turkey still keeps a 35,000-strong army.
“This is the first time the said reference is included in EU conclusions and it is deemed as a reference of vital significance in light of Turkey’s efforts to upgrade the status of the secessionist entity,” the ministry said.
“The Council precisely and accurately records the state of affairs as regards Turkey, underlining the absolute lack of progress in relation to Turkey’s accession process,” it added, referring to Turkey’s lagging hopes of joining the EU, which began in 2005 and have stalled.
The EU Council conclusions also make reference to Varosha, condemning the illegal actions taken by the north and Turkey to open the fenced-off area of the city and to reverse it, which has been ignored.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Demetris Demetriou said references to Varosha and the condemnation of illegal Turkish actions are the first time the council told Turkey to stop actions that could lead to upgrading of the north.