Varosha should be part of

comprehensive settlement

The no-go zone of Varosha (Maraş) can only be reopened as part of a comprehensive settlement in Cyprus, not a confidence-building measure in the ongoing talks, according to Turkish Cypriot Foreign Minister Özdil Nami.

Nami - Davutoglu
Özdil Nami and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu

The foreign minister said Turkish Cypriots had reaffirmed their position on the issue during a recent visit by EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Füle to the island.

“It’s incorrect to tie confidence-building measures to Varosha,” Nami said yesterday at a meeting with the Diplomatic Correspondents’ Association in Ankara.

The issue of Varosha is an arrangement about land, and even discussion about the proposal will result in months of arguments since Turkish Cypriots are not satisfied with the offer and will ask for more, he said, adding that northern Cypriots were worried any talks on the issue would detract from the core of reunification negotiations.

“And then we’ll find ourselves discussing this issue instead of a comprehensive settlement,” he said, stressing that confidence-building measures should rather be projects that would directly affect people of the island in a positive way.

Greek Cypriots have been pushing to acquire Varosha, a fenced-off area in Famagusta that used to be one of the Mediterranean’s premier tourist destinations, in return for direct trade for Turkish Cypriots, with Famagusta port under EU administration.

The issue came up at a recent meeting on the island between Füle and Turkish Cypriot officials, with the EU commissioner soliciting the Turkish Cypriot side’s opinion about the proposal, a Turkish Cypriot official told the Hürriyet Daily News.

Elaborating on his meeting with Füle, Nami said they urged the commission to “take braver steps” in order to lift the isolation of Turkish Cyprus.

The minister also expressed disappointment at the slow pace of the talks and complained about the refusal of Greek Cypriots to more frequent meetings between the leaders.

Nami also said Greek Cypriots were avoiding discussion of “rapprochement papers” which were produced during former talks. The minister ruled out elaborating on an alternative plan of a two-state solution if the negotiations fail.

“Our sole aim at the moment is to establish a federal structure established with a Turkish Cypriot founding state and a Greek Cypriot founding state on the basis of equality,” he said.

Source: Hürriyet Daily News