NEW YORK – The United Nations Security Council on October 9 released a statement concerning the recent opening of Varosha beach, a section of Famagusta in the illegally occupied area of Cyprus. The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee also released a statement the same day on the situation, sending a letter to President Donald Trump urging him to stop Erdogan from violating the UN Security Council resolutions regarding Varosha. The International Coordinating Committee Justice for Cyprus – PSEKA released a non-paper on the situation as well.
U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was joined by Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Gary Peters (D-MI), and Jack Reed (D-RI) in voicing grave concerns over Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s announced intention to open the beach in Varosha, Cyprus, in violation of several United Nations Resolutions and longstanding policy in the country. The Senators urged President Trump to call on President Erdogan to reverse the decision and to work through the United Nations Security Council to ensure implementation of the organization’s existing resolutions regarding Varosha.
“We support a return to dialogue after months of tension caused by Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean, but Erdogan’s move on Varosha calls into serious question Turkey’s genuine commitment to a diplomatic path forward,” the Senators wrote. “Working with the European Union, the United States must lead an effort to condemn these actions.”
The Senators specifically called on President Trump to capitalize on his close ties to President Erdogan to push him to reverse course.
“We support engagement with leaders around the world if used in ways that advance the U.S. interest,” the Senators added. “Please work with urgency to use your close friendship with President Erdogan to ask him to comply with UN Security Council Resolutions on Varosha and to stop damaging the prospects for reunification negotiations.”
The full text of the letter is available online: https://www.foreign.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Letter%20to%20trump%20re%20Varosha%20Cyprus.pdf.
The text of the UN Security Council Statement follows:
Statement by the President of the Security Council
At the 8766th meeting of the Security Council, held on 9 October 2020, in connection with the Council's consideration of the item entitled "The situation in Cyprus," the President of the Security Council made the following statement on behalf of the Council:
"The Security Council reaffirm the status of Varosha as set out in previous United Nations Security Council resolutions, including resolution 550 (1984) and resolution 789 (1992). The Security Council reiterates that no actions should be carried out in relation to Varosha that are not in accordance with those resolutions.
"The Security Council expresses its deep concern regarding the announcement in Ankara on 6 October to open the coastline of Varosha and calls for the reversal of this course of action, and for the avoidance of any unilateral actions that could raise tensions on the island.
"The Security Council stresses the importance of full respect and implementation of its resolutions.
"The Security Council reaffirms its commitment to an enduring, comprehensive and just settlement in accordance with the wishes of the Cypriot people, and based on a bicommunal, bizonal federation with political equality, as set out in relevant Security Council resolutions. In this regard, the Security Council calls on the Cypriot sides and the Guarantor Powers to engage in dialogue constructively and with a sense of urgency following the electoral process in the Turkish Cypriot community. "The Security Council reiterates its support for the Secretary-General and his intention to convene a meeting as agreed between the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot leaders in their meeting with the Secretary-General in November 2019.
"The Security Council shall remain seized of the matter."
PSEKA’s non-paper on the Varosha beach opening follows:
“On October 6th, 2020, Turkey announced the immediate opening of Varosha beach, an integral part of the fenced area of Varosha, in violation of relevant UNSC Resolutions. Varosha is under the direct control of the Turkish army and a symbol of the occupation itself. The UN has set a specific framework for its return to its lawful inhabitants, where the resettlement of the area under UN auspices will be a priority without awaiting the outcome of discussions on other aspects of the Cyprus problem.
“This move by Turkey bears extremely serious ramifications, in particular to any prospects of resuming negotiations for the solution of the Cyprus problem. There is in fact little doubt that this is a step towards the permanent partition of the island, a deliberate attempt by Turkey to impose its "plan B" of altering the basis of the solution, at a time when the UN Secretary General is preparing for the resumption of the peace process. It is therefore a move which carries wide and far-reaching consequences for the entire island.
“Urgent action is needed, particularly in the context of the UN SC, to prevent the materialization of the Turkish plans. U.S. support is crucial in demanding the immediate cessation of actions that run contrary to UN SC Resolutions, which clearly call for "the transfer of that area to the administration of the United Nations" (Resolution 550, 1984).
“Any plans towards the opening of the fenced area of Varosha and the undermining of efforts to resume the peace process should be condemned, and the status of the area reaffirmed as enshrined in the UN SC Resolutions. At the same time, action should be taken to restore the situation to the status quo ante.
“At a moment when all efforts are focused on the termination of violations, the de-escalation of tensions and the creation of an environment conducive to the resumption of the negotiating process, the materialization of Turkey's threats for Varosha constitute a severe blow to these efforts and to the very prospect for a solution to the Cyprus problem. Urgent action is needed in order to avert Turkish plans for Varosha, prevent the fueling of the vicious circle of violations and tensions and ensure that all efforts are aligned in the direction of charting a positive way forward.”