EU warns of actions against Turkey over Cypriot ghost town

The EU on Tuesday warned of actions against Turkey by the bloc’s foreign ministers in their next meeting if Ankara fails to reverse actions in the fenced-off Cypriot town of Varosha.

EU High Representative Josep Borrell, in a written statement, said the bloc “strongly condemns Turkey’s unilateral steps and the unacceptable announcements made by the Turkish President and the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community on 20 July 2021 on the further reopening of the fenced-off town of Varosha.”

The bloc’s foreign ministers would consider action, “in case of non-reversal of Turkey’s actions,’’ the EU official said.

Turkey last week announced partial reopening of an abandoned town Varosha for potential resettlement, drawing a strong rebuke from Greek Cypriot and international leaders, including Washington. 

The warning from the EU follows a condemnation over the move by the U.N. Security Council on Friday, reiterating that any attempt to settle any part of the Varosha suburb “by people other than its inhabitants is inadmissible”.

Turkey’s actions are contrary to UN Security Council Resolutions 550/84 and 789/92, Borrell said on Tuesday, while stressing that the EU remains fully committed to a “comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem on the basis of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation.’’

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded the north in response to a Greek Cypriot coup aiming to unite the island with Greece. Since then, the internationally recognised Republic of Cyprus has controlled the southern two-thirds of the island, and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, only recognised by Turkey, the northern third.

The bloc’s ​​foreign ministers are set to hold their next informal meeting on September 2 and 3 in Kranj, Slovenia.