Leader of the main opposition Republican Turkish Party (CTP) Tufan Erhürman said the latest statements and meetings with the government has revealed that there is no ready policy or project on the issue of the fenced-off city of Maraş.
In social media post on Friday, Erhürman said the only thing that currently existed was an intention to conduct an inventory of property in Maraş (Varosha).
He said that the details and method of how the inventory will be conducted has yet to be determined.
Erhürman said the former PM Hakkı Atun’s latest interview to Turkish Cypriot daily ‘Yenidüzen’ on the closed city, dated June 28, 2019, made it easier to understand Resolution 550 adopted by the UN Security Council (UNSC). He said that the UNSC resolution stated that resettling anyone other than the pre-1974 residents of Maraş (Varosha) was unacceptable. The resolution calls for the fenced-off city to be handed over to UN control.
The CTP leader recalled that the next time the issue of reopening Maraş (Varosha) came up was in 1992 when it became evident that the Ghali Set of Ideas presented by the UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros Ghali at the time, would not lead to a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem.
“After seeing that his efforts to reach a comprehensive solution had failed, the UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali reaches the conviction that there is a serious crisis of confidence between the two communities. Thus, he prepared a package of confidence-building measures which included a proposal to open the closed city of Maraş (Varosha) as well as the airport in Nicosia. According to the package, Maraş (Varosha) would be opened under the administration of the UN”, Erhürman said.
The move was aimed at developing commerce and trade between the two communities, he added.
Erhürman said that the move would have only allowed former residents to return to their homes in the fenced-off city but there would be freedom of movement for people from both sides.
“Nicosia International airport would have been opened in a similar fashion under UN control. Turkish and Cypriot registered airline companies would be able to use the airport. Passengers landing at the airport would have been able to cross to whichever side they wanted”, added Erhürman.
He said that the opening of the airport would have allowed Turkish Cypriots direct access to foreign markets thus allowing them to establish import-export relations.
In addition, Ghali believed that the opening the airport would allow a large number of tourists to visit the North, the CTP leader noted.
“The Secretary-General had proposed the measures to remain in place until a comprehensive settlement was reached”, he said.
Erhürman noted that it was important to keep this information in the background when discussing the possibility of reopening Maraş.
He argued that developing new ideas and pursuing a proactive policy until a comprehensive solution was reached rather than remaining trapped in the status quo, was extremely important.
“The CTP shall continue to share its proposals on this issue. However, it is extremely important to assess the facts carefully, to conduct consultations with sensitivity and to avoid confusion or misunderstanding”, Erhürman said.