Sunday, 24 October 2010

Turkish Cypriots ask for return of the occupied closed city of Varosha to its legal owners

Turkish Cypriots ask for return of the occupied closed city of Varosha to its legal owners

Turkish daily Haberdar (12.10.10) reports that a group of businessmen, doctors, artists and professionals from Famagusta signed a declaration regarding the occupied closed city of Varosha asking for its return to its Greek Cypriot legal owners before a solution to the Cyprus problem is reached. The Turkish Cypriots prepared a package of proposals and published it in the form of a declaration, which notes that Varosha needs to be returned to its legal owners. They said that the port of Famagusta should be opened for international shipping so that the area is revived economically. The Turkish Cypriots who signed the declaration said that this opening would be an initiative which would pave the Turkey’s way to the EU.

In the declaration, Varosha is called “ghost town” which invokes a Hollywood horror movie, a place with a depressive atmosphere which destroys any hope for a healthy future. It is noted that a different ecosystem has been created there because Varosha is kept closed for 36 years and the people living in Famagusta area face the danger of various illnesses because of the animals in the “ghost town”.

The group proposes the revitalization of Varosha which would result in the subsequent development of the Famagusta area. Moreover, the group adds that an initiative for Varosha is the opening of the Famagusta port to international transport under EU supervision.

“The port which at the moment functions using only 25% of its capacity, will be revived, but most importantly the area inside the walls which is “dead” and other areas of Famagusta will have a steady flow of tourists with a high turnover,” argues the group in its declaration. Opening of the port, argues the group, could also lead to Turkey’s opening its ports to ships under Cypriot flag and more opportunities for the restoration of the historic and artistic monuments of the Famagusta old city by foreign institutions, thus enabling the city to be included in the World Cultural Heritage list of UNESCO.

Moreover, the group supports that the adoption of such a packet will contribute to the respect and sympathy of the international opinion towards Turkey, speed up the opening of chapters in Turkey’ accession talks with EU and will be “a catalyst creating synergy for a complete solution in Cyprus.”