MEPs condemn Turkey’s activities in Varosha, Cyprus, and call for sanctions

MEPs condemn Turkey’s activities in Varosha, Cyprus, and call for sanctions

On 26 November 2020 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) condemned Turkey’s activities in Varosha, Cyprus, and called for sanctions  regarding Turkey’s decision to “open” the sealed-off suburb of Varosha which undermines prospects of a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem, warned MEPs.

The MEPs insisted that Turkey must refrain from any action that alters Cyprus’ demographic balance. The MEPs also noted that EU-Turkey relations at a historic low and called for tough sanctions in response to Turkey’s illegal actions.  

The Turkish army fenced off Varosha immediately after the invasion of Cyprus in 1974. The Greek Cypriots who fled from Varosha were not allowed to return and with public entry prohibited, Varosha has effectively become a ghost town.

In a resolution adopted by MEPs, Turkey’s illegal activities in the Varosha suburb of the city of Famagusta were condemned and MEPs warned that its partial “opening” weakens prospects of a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem, exacerbating divisions and entrenching the permanent partition of the island.

MEPs called on Turkey to transfer Varosha to its lawful inhabitants under the temporary administration of the UN (in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 550 (1984)) and to refrain from any actions that alter the demographic balance on the island through a policy of illegal settlement.

A sustainable solution to reunify the island of Cyprus and its people can only be found through dialogue, diplomacy, and negotiations, the MEPs stressed. They called on the European Council to maintain its unified position on Turkey’s illegal actions and impose tough sanctions in response.

MEPs regretted that the Turkish authorities have endorsed the two-state solution for Cyprus and reiterate their support for a fair, comprehensive and viable settlement on the basis of a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation with a single international legal status. They also called on the EU to play a more active role in bringing the negotiations under UN auspices to a successful conclusion. As Turkey distances itself more and more from European values and standards, EU-Turkey relations are at a historic low, warns Parliament. Its illegal and unilateral military actions in the Eastern Mediterranean infringe on the sovereignty of EU member states Greece and Cyprus. MEPs also point out Turkey’s direct support of Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict as well as its actions in Libya and Syria.

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