Following yet another collapse in unity talks aimed at reunifying the island, Turkey’s near-dictatorial government is reportedly planning to open the fenced-off ghost neighborhood Varosha in the city of Famagusta.
The Greek newspaper Kathimerini said that according to unconfirmed reports, Turkey’s diplomatic and military authorities have already received instructions to prepare for the opening and to offer Cypriots who left during the unlawful 1974 invasion to return – but only if they agree to submit to Turkish law.
Last week, Turkish Cypriots announced that members of the island’s Maronite community can return to their villages in the north and live under under Turkish Cypriot administration.
Turkey, whose refusal to remove a standing 35,000-strong army and demands to keep the right to militarily intervene led to the unity talks failing, is also said to be thinking of making changes to deal with Cypriot claims to properties and land they fled when the Turkish army invaded and occupied the northern third of the island.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who refuses to recognize Cyprus and bars its ships and planes although he wants to join the European Union – to which the island’s legitimate government belongs – also will go ahead with plans to sent an energy research vessel into Cypriot waters and order installation of a drilling platform off Karpasia, the paper said.