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How Will We React to Famagusta?

Αssociated Press

A man holds a sign during a protest against the opening to the public of a stretch of beach in uninhabited Varosha, a suburb of Famagusta in the breakaway Turkish Cypriot north of war-divided Cyprus, during a demonstration at a crossing point in the village of Dherynia on Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

I do not know how our conflict with Erdogan's Turkey can end. Every day this becomes more and more difficult. If it's not one thing with him, it's another. If it is not drilling in the EEZ of Cyprus, it is drilling in the Aegean.

And while it seems as though he backed off in the Aegean, after the strong reaction of Greece, the political situation in the United States and pressure from Germany allow him to reach for something else. Another major issue has been brought up: the opening of a fenced off coastal zone in the city of Famagusta and its illegal transfer to the Turkish Cypriots.

Step by step, but also in a coordinated way, he is unfolding a strategy of plundering the sovereign rights of Greece and Cyprus. Why he does it doesn’t actually matter all that much. The point is, he is doing it. And it would be a tragic mistake to think that his plans will end at this point.

Famagusta, after Cyprus gained its independence, became an important tourist destination that attracted the ‘stars’ of Europe at the time.

After the invasion, its inhabitants fled the violence, shortly before Attila's forces occupied it. They hoped to return one day. It was always expected that Famagusta would be the key to the solution of the Cyprus problem and substantial proof of Turkey's good will and wish for its solution.

Since then it remains a ghost town. Something inconceivable. It is like it was abandoned by its inhabitants, who left in fear of their lives. The obvious deterioration of the past decades is visible to all. (I visited Famagusta years ago with Neophytos Kyriakou, our veteran correspondent, together with George Tziortzios, and on the one hand I admired the beauty of its beach and on the other I was horrified by the condition in which I found it).

Unfortunately, in the past, for non-serious reasons, we rejected the various plans for a solution to the Cyprus problem that included the return of Famagusta. There was a lack of political courage and vision. From international political immaturity, we believed the Security Council, the Russians, the alpha and the beta etc. would save us.

Now, Erdogan says he will open up the coastal area of Famagusta which is sure to lead to the city's habitation and development, offering his friends billions of dollars in gifts and real estate.

So how do we react? That is a difficult question. Will we will jump up and down for a few days – shouting, wailing in grief? In the end, what good is this type of reaction after the fact?