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US condemns Erdogan-backed plans to reopen Cypriot Varosha ghost town

Published: Updated:

The United States condemned on Wednesday Turkish Cypriot authorities’ announcement on the partial reopening the ghost town of Varosha for potential resettlement, in a plan backed by Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“We condemn the decision to have Turkish Cypriots take control over parts of Varosha, which is inconsistent with UN resolutions, unacceptable, and incompatible with past commitments to resume settlement talks. We urge a reversal of this decision and steps taken since Oct. 2020,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrote on Twitter.

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Turkish Cypriot authorities had announced on Tuesday that they would reopen the abandoned town for potential resettlement. The ghost town has been deserted since a 1974 war split the island between Greece and Turkey.

Authorities said that a part of Varosha would be converted to civilian use with a mechanism in place for people to potentially reclaim their properties.

“A new era will begin in Maras which will benefit everyone,” Erdogan said, using the Turkish name for Varosha, during a visit to the town on Tuesday.

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades also condemned the move and said Erdogan’s actions were “illegal and unacceptable.”

“I want to send the strongest message to Mr Erdogan and his local proxies that the unacceptable actions and demands of Turkey will not be accepted,” Anastasiades said.

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