Reopening of Varosha: India supports Cyprus, calls Turkey’s move to reopen ghost town ‘concerning’

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New Delhi: India has supported Cyprus and expressed its deep concern on a Turkey-backed move to open the ghost town of Varosha.

Varosha was once a popular resort town but was abandoned after the 1974 invasion of the Mediterranean island by Turkey. The invasion led to the division of the country into two– Republic of Cyprus and the northern–Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) recognized only by Ankara
Ministry of external affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi in response to a question at weekly virtual presser said, “This is an issue that the UNSC is seized off. We are deeply concerned at the recent unilateral announcements with regard to the status of Varosha”

Adding, “We have always advocated peaceful resolution of this issue in accordance with the UN resolution. Unfortunately, the voice of the UNSC as reflected in its presidential statement of 9th Oct 2020 has not been adhered to. We have consistently supported the independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, and unity of the Republic of Cyprus.”

This is the 2nd comment by India on the issue in the last 24 hours. On Wednesday, India’s envoy to the United Nations TS Tirumurti expressed deep concern on the issue when the matter came to the United Nations Security Council.

Tirumurti at the UNSC meeting on the issue expressed ‘deep concern’ on the ‘unilateral steps on Varosha contrary to UNSC resolutions’ and said that “Cypriot-led, Cypriot-owned process on ‘bi-zonal bi-communal federation’ should be the basis.”

Cyprus had taken the matter to the UNSC over the reopening of the town by leadership in the north. The move to reopen Varosha was announced by Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and was strongly criticized by the Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades.’

India has joined the US, UK and EU who have also expressed concerns over the development. Cyprus’s foreign minister Nikos Christodoulides had spoken on the issue with the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell and US Secretary of state Antony Blinken and briefed about the developments.

Turkey-backed violation of UNSC resolutions on Cyprus comes even as Ankara in the past has been advising India on UNSC resolutions on Kashmir.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had commented in the backdrop of India removing special status for the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir in 2019. This has been the main cause of the deterioration of ties between the 2 countries in the last 2 years.

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