Many claims have been made about the re-opening of the fenced-off town of Maraş, which has been abandoned since 1974. The Turkish Cypriot side is reported to be in need of time regarding its re-opening.
The issue of Maraş was brought to the agenda at the meeting held with the participation of Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavuşoğlu and political parties in the Presidency last week, but it is alleged that Çavuşoğlu said “now is not time now, but later”.
After the failure of the Crans-Montana summit, the Turkish Cypriot side was unconcerned with the agenda, but after prolonged struggles, the return of the Maronites to their original villages after 43 years had caused speculation that “Maraş will also be stepped up”.
However, according to the information given to ‘Kibris Postasi’ by a reliable source, the Turkish Cypriot side will only be able to make such a move towards the end of 2017.
The sources said that it was believed to be necessary to take time, at least 3-5 months to take a “measurement of the reaction of the public” before opening up the town. “I do not think that such a step could have be taken 3-5 months ago. In addition, the rumours of being handed over to the UN governing body do not reflect reality at this time. Maraş transferred to the UN must eventually be transferred to us or to the Greek side. The UN can not take over this management forever”, the source said.
“So it is necessary to say that such a decision that Maraş is to be returned to x or y after such a long time, but at the moment there is no time frame for this. The return of the Maronites is thought to be easily dealt with. The villagers were prepared when the conditions were right. However, there is a public conception that it will happen immediately. This is not true. So even if steps are taken on Maraş, this will not happen tomorrow morning or next week. Time is needed”, he said.