Tensions simmer over Northern Cyprus' plan to reopen Varosha
In nineteen seventy, four intervention by Turkish military forces after Greek inspired coup in Cyprus the famous Borussia Resort region was shut down over one hundred hotels with a bed capacity of ten thousand has been empty. No forty six years United Nations Security Council resolution states that the ghost. Count Ghost town. Can only be resettled by its original inhabitants. But now the Turkish. Separate Prime Minister has announced that the beaches there will open today causing much consternation from Cyprus and Greece one, hundred Lucinda Smith. The eastern will correspondent for the Times joins me now Hannah. Thanks thanks for coming on. Can you remind us of the events leading up to the closing of the region? Show well, of course, Cyprus in Nineteen, seventy, four, a war broke out but really the tensions on the been going on for more than a decade already between the two communities. The Greek speaking community on the Turkish speaking community. Now, in nineteen seventy four, what happened was that backed by Greece the Greek Cypriots tend to do. In response to that the Turkish army INVADED IN THE NORTH And progress down to the South and actually the line that they take. Shami was planning to progress to stops just north of Rocha. Rocha shouldn't have been part of the part of the territory take. Mohtashami. But they did in fact, take it. Well, it didn't do was opening up again to the public. They kept originally kind of bargaining chip hyping to sort of extract some concessions from the Greek separate side using this kind of faulting chip of Rocha. But she what's happened is that for forty six years, it's remained behind barbed wire, its military zone, the only people who are allowed. That are Turkish military personnel I'm very occasionally U. N. personnel now. On the did kind few images that we've seen coming from. This is really kind of striking quite eerie. Once, very, very lavish resort place where people like Elizabeth Taylor and severe ran went on holiday. Now just completely crumbling to dust. So what are the latest developments? So actually totta are the north separate prime minister announced. August. That the Russia was going to be redeveloped and reopened. Now this is something entirely near this is who come up cyclically disgust every so often. And so in a way. You know again it's you know one of these ideas and they'll never come to fruition. But as you said on Tuesday nights totta made the announcement while he was nine crowd that is going to be open today, not the whole town, just the beachfront But the really significant thing about this is that that was just five days away from the presidential elections in no Cypress scheduled to be held on Sunday Ersan Tatars candidate in those elections and I think the really interesting thing you mentioned that it's this announcements is met with a huge amount of opposition from. A Greek Cypriots and from Greece is also met with quad loss of opposition from Turkey separates as well It says caused the government of North. Cyprus a coalition government collapsed to one junior partner said it was pulling out that coalition and so her fide by this kind of sudden announcement and submit Prank and I think you know lots of people that know Cypress particularly Essen Tatas political opponents thing. But he's really using this as a kind of political stunt to give him the edge in Sunday's elections but I mean it's illegal isn't it? How does Turkey justify it? It. Is Legal Yeah as you said, according to the UN if anyone's going to be resettled in Russia, they have to be the original residents, most of whom were Greek separates. Now thought present factors has recognized the ship of the proper does the commission up. To, look into how the original owners of properties in brochure could be compensated Most of those people wanted some kind of compensation. Some wanted their properties back. But yeah. The fact is you know if any redevelopment of that town is going take place, there's this two major issues in all Cyprus firstly is the town the for forty six years has just been crumbling into the ground. It's GonNa take music. You're going to have to be kind of a demolished and reconstructed which might work, and secondly that is an she is going to cost Cyprus huge amounts of money if they want to do this in the kind of legal and proper way, and let's not forget the no. Cypress's is a country this only recognized by Ankara, it's pretty widely embargoed eighty four. For its economic survival is much propped up by Ankara saying it's places kind of ready access to to the funds needed to do something like this. So I think the question amongst. People position or is this just an election stunt? Is The beach just going to be open for feed is a member. She was just going to be closing lucky walls before a finally Hannah. How this feed into Turkeys dispute with European Union members Cypress and Greece territorial rights in the eastern Mediterranean. Yes sure I mean I think it's coincidence that is nouncement was made in Ankara. The obviously, no cypresses almost entirely dependent on anchor for it survivor. Essen Tatars. I said is the is kind of anchors favored consciousness elections, but we'll see this is why dispute going on in Syria and Cyprus and in the eastern Mediterranean more broadly which she the tickets very much. The House of it's about the converged UNSEE gas. It's about maritime sovereign say on that those people down over the past few weeks rather still not been resolved and I. Think this is hugely emotional for for separates greek-cypriots particularly, and it's just another thing I. think no guide to sort of. Prolong this arguments this maritime arguments niece.