The UN Security Council has called for an “immediate rescission” of the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot decision to reopen part of Varosa.

The UN Security Council condemned the decision of Turkey and Turkish Cypriots to reopen an abandoned suburban residential area and called for an “immediate reversal” of this unilateral action, warning that it could increase tensions on the divided Mediterranean islands.

At a public meeting on Friday, a presidential statement approved by all 15 city council members reiterated that “people other than residents are not allowed to try to settle in any part of the suburbs of Varosha.

The 15-member body said in a statement on Friday: “The Security Council calls for the immediate withdrawal of this course of action and the withdrawal of all steps taken against Varosha since October 2020.”

The statement was adopted after the outgoing UN Special Representative’s closed-door briefing to the Security Council on Wednesday, which focused on the Turkish Cypriot leader El Sintar’s announcement on Tuesday that the 3.5 square kilometer (1.35 square mile) portion of Varosha will be From military to civilian control.

He did it before Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan participated in the military parade commemorating the 47th anniversary of Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus.

On Tuesday, during a trip to the divided north of Nicosia, Erdogan announced that half a century of efforts by the United Nations had failed and that there should be “two nations and two countries equal.”

The United States expressed concern that his remarks would have a “chilling effect” on the UN-led efforts to resolve the Cyprus problem.

“The Security Council emphasizes the need to avoid any further unilateral actions that are inconsistent with its resolutions, which may exacerbate tensions on the island and undermine the prospects for resolution,” the council said.

People spend their time by the sea in the fenced area of ​​Varosha in the town of Famagusta, which claims to be the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) [File: Iakovos Hatzistavrou/AFP]

Ankara is dismissive of condemnation

The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs refuted the Security Council’s statements and the statements of some countries, saying that these statements were based on unfounded claims and inconsistent with the reality of Cyprus.

The statement said: “These statements are based on Greek Cypriot black propaganda and baseless claims.”

It said Varosha is part of the territory of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), which only Ankara recognizes, and that it has not yet opened up for settlement.

It added that all TRNC decisions respect property rights and fully comply with international law.

Cyprus has been in a state of division since 1974, when Turkey invaded in response to an attempted coup attempted by the Athens military to unite the island with Greece.

In 1974, an estimated 17,000 Greek Cypriots living in Varosha fled the Turkish army. Since then, it has been empty and blocked by barbed wire and no-entry signs. A UN resolution called for the area to be transferred to international agencies.

“The Security Council emphasizes the importance of fully respecting and implementing its resolutions, including the transfer of Varosha to the UN administration,” the Security Council said on Friday.

According to the terms of the 2004 UN Unified Blueprint, Varosha is one of the areas under Greek Cypriot administration that should have been returned to its inhabitants.

The plan detailed unification under a complex power-sharing agreement, but was rejected by the Greek Cypriots in the referendum.

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