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Özersay’s comments on Varosha spark outrage

3 November 2014

Kudret Özersay, Turkish Cypriot former negotiator and candidate for the presidential elections next April has suggested opening up Varosha under Turkish Cypriot control, ‘Kibris Postasi’ reports.

The move, he said would be a step towards solving one of the “black holes” in the Cyprus problem. He added that this could help revive the economy of Famagusta and North Cyprus.

Özersay suggested that in the atmosphere where the negotiations have collapsed, a move like this would be well received by the Greek Cypriot community. “Some would think that this suggestion will not sit well with the Greek Cypriot community but I think it’s time to refer to them directly instead of their leadership. During the discussions on Immovable Property Commission sceptics thought that Greek Cypriots would not apply to it, but they did” said Özersay.

He also admitted that the Immovable Property Commission is not functioning well while at the same time, he suggested that the opening of Varosha would somehow work.

In his statement, Özersay describes how the lawful owners of Varosha will be able to return under certain conditions. According to these conditions, the residents will only be allowed to purchase construction material from the North and the town will be under Famagusta Municipality’s authority.

Özersay claimed that this arrangement would not contradict UN Security Council resolutions as “it includes returning property”. He also suggested that this step would not harm the process, as he said opening Varosha would also be tied to a condition that North Cyprus would have to abide with. “We can promise that this arrangement will not be binding if a comprehensive settlement is reached and according to that settlement a different scenario is envisaged for Varosha”. Özersay thinks that this would prevent Greek Cypriots from “assuming” that this action is an “anti-solution” move.

He also shared his ideas on Facebook which were condemned by activists, politicians, sociologists and other members of the community who accused Özersay of “trying to nicely package a hardliner right-wing attitude”.

According to the people who commented on Özersay’s suggestion, the opening of Varosha under Turkish Cypriot control would harm the peace process and is not aligned with international law.

CTP-BG MP Fazilet Özdenefe made public her reaction to Özersay’s statements about Varosha on Atif Muezzinler’s Sabah Sabah Program on GencTv. “His statements are selfish and directly associated with the elections, he made [them] without considering the negative results they would attract,” she said.

She went on to say, “I found these statements to be unfortunate and frivolous. Up to this date, there has always been the condition of UN surveillance in all decisions about Varosha.

These statements that were made during a critical time when South Cyprus has claimed that its “sovereign rights are being violated” is unfortunate. Is security of Varosha going to be provided by the Famagusta Municipality?”

Özdenefe said, “Making such a statement provokes the other side. This proposal is one that is impossible and frivolous”. Referring to TRNC President Dervis Eroglu’s statements, Özdenefe said,“These are not subjects discussed at the [negotiating] table. How can you do such harm to your people?”

She noted that: “We are passing through critical days regarding the Cyprus problem and I am sadly observing that these statements are directed at the elections and are made without thinking of the negative effects they will attract”.

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