Greek Cypriot self-designated ‘mayor’ of Famagusta Alexis Galanos has said that reports in the Turkish press regarding the opening of Maras/Varosha are “a bluff”.
Speaking today to CNA, Galanos said that he sees Turkish financial interests behind the move.
Galanos began a series of meetings with Greek Cypriot government and UN officials on the matter and met, this morning, with Greek Cypriot negotiator Andreas Mavroyiannis. Galanos is also expected to meet with Greek Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides and the South’s government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides. On Monday he will meet the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Cyprus Elizabeth Spehar. Galanos also expected to give a press statement on Friday.
“We insist that the only viable and functioning development with regard to Famagusta…is the return [of the fenced-off city] on the basis of Security Council resolutions 550 and 789, under UN and of course Greek Cypriot administration”, Galanos told CNA.
The issue is also included in the agenda of tomorrow’s municipal council meeting, Galanos added.
According to Galanos, plans are afoot aimed at promoting Turkish financial interests and designs to colonise the part of the city that was sealed off following the 1974 “Turkish invasion” [as the newspaper describes the peacekeeping mission Ed.]
“The Turkish side is playing games with the emotions of Greek Cypriot refugees, but logic dictates that this is all “a bluff, a game, a tactical manoeuvre,” said Galanos, who believes that the vast majority of Greek Cypriot refugees will not return under these conditions.
Various reports in the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot press appeared recently, referring to various scenarios over the future of Maras/Varosha, the fenced-off part of Famagusta. These range from the opening of Varosha under Turkish Cypriot administration to its return to the UN.
A UN spokesperson said last Saturday that the “UN has not been informed of any such plans”. Greek Cypriot Foreign Minister Kasoulides, said his government was ready to discuss the opening of Famagusta, under UN control, as a confidence building measure.