BY DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL APR 14, 2022
The Turkish Cypriot people do not have another 50 years to lose at the negotiation table, Vice President Fuat Oktay said Thursday.
“Turkish Cypriots do not have another 50 years to lose or waste at the negotiation tables or under sanctions,” Oktay said, speaking at a joint news conference with the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) Prime Minister Faiz Sucuoğlu in Ankara on Thursday.
In January, the TRNC President Ersin Tatar asked the United Kingdom’s top diplomat to invite him to London along with Greek Cypriot leader Nikos Anastasiadis for fresh talks as he believes that there is no common ground between the parties for new negotiations.
While Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration support a federation on Cyprus, Turkey and the TRNC insist on a two-state solution that reflects the realities on the island.
He reiterated Turkey’s determination to protect TRNC’s rights and interests, saying that those who try to test it will face repercussions.
Meanwhile, Oktay also said the initiative to open the closed city of Maraş (Varosha) is in line with international law and TRNC authorities strive to alleviate existing concerns of islanders rather than create new ones.
Varosha was a famous resort area on the island that boasted a capacity of 10,000 beds across more than 100 hotels. Turkish military forces intervened on the island following a Greece-backed coup, which stopped the yearslong persecution and violence against Turkish Cypriots by ultra-nationalist Greek Cypriots.
The city of Varosha is protected by a 1984 U.N. Security Council resolution, stating that the empty town can only be resettled in by its original inhabitants. If the Greek Cypriots had accepted the 2004 U.N. Cyprus reunification plan, known as the Annan plan, Varosha would now be back under Greek Cypriot control and its residents back in their homes. Despite this, the majority of Greek Cypriots voted against the plan, while Turkish Cypriots voted for it.
After partially opening on Oct. 8, 2020, after remaining a “ghost town” for decades in the wake of Turkey’s 1974 peace operation on the island in response to a coup aimed at Cyprus’s annexation by Greece, Varosha has attracted both people living in the TRNC as well as foreign tourists, with the environment and landscape around the town also boosting its appeal. Located in Northern Cyprus, entry into the town was forbidden except for Turkish army personnel stationed in the TRNC.
Cyprus has been mired for decades in a dispute between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, despite a series of diplomatic efforts by the U.N. to achieve a comprehensive settlement. Ethnic attacks starting in the early 1960s forced Turkish Cypriots to withdraw into enclaves for their safety. In 1974, a Greek Cypriot coup aimed at Greece’s annexation led to Turkey’s military intervention as a guarantor power to protect Turkish Cypriots from persecution and violence. As a result, the TRNC was founded in 1983. It has seen an on-and-off peace process in recent years, including a failed 2017 initiative in Switzerland under the auspices of guarantor countries Turkey, Greece and the U.K.