On 28 October 2020, Cypriot Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Loucas Fourlas of the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) posed a written parliamentary question to the European Commission:
“Turkey has again acted illegally and provoked Cyprus and the rightful inhabitants of Varosha by opening up the fenced-off city. On Saturday 24 October 2020, Turkish Vice-President Fuat Oktay visited the occupied territories and illegally entered the city of Varosha.
In a statement, he said that it is not right to hand over a place like Varosha, which will determine the future and will achieve economic growth, to rats, adding that ‘we are going all the way on the issue of Varosha’.
Oktay’s actions constitute a violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions, including Resolution 550 (1984) and Resolution 789 (1992). At the same time, it energises efforts to resume talks on resolving the Cyprus issue.
In view of the above:
1. How does the Commission view these provocations by Turkey?
2. What measures and actions will it take against Turkey, which continues to receive pre-accession assistance as a candidate country?”
On 2 February 2021, High Representative and Vice-President Borrell responded on behalf of the European Commission stating: “The High Representative/Vice-President has expressed the EU’s grave concern over the decision to proceed with the ‘opening’ of part of the fenced area of Varosha, following the announcement made in Ankara on 6 October 2020.
Moreover, the EU deplored the actions of 15 November 2020 regarding the opening of Varosha and statements contradicting the United Nations (UN) principles for a settlement of the Cyprus question, and stated that it is imperative for Turkey to contribute in concrete terms and undertake responsible actions with a view to creating a conducive environment for negotiations.
In its Conclusions of 11 December 2020, the European Council condemned Turkey’s unilateral steps in Varosha and called for full respect of UN Security Council Resolutions 550 (1984) and 789 (1992).
The EU supports the speedy resumption of negotiations, under the auspices of the UN, and remains fully committed to a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem, within the UN framework and in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions and in line with the principles on which the EU is founded. It expects the same of Turkey. Upon resumption of the negotiations under the UN Secretary General’s auspices, the EU will appoint a representative to the UN Good Offices Mission.
The Commission has already significantly reduced EU financial support to Turkey for 2018-2020 through the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) and reoriented funding towards civil society, democracy and the rule of law. In this context, the Commission considers that IPA assistance remains relevant.”
Photo Credit : https://pixabay.com/photos/cyprus-famagusta-ghost-town-3112541/