Jun 19 2019

Turkish Cypriot government to take inventory of 'ghost town'

The Turkish Cypriot government plans to take an inventory of Varosha, a beachfront district in the Cypriot city of Famagusta that has been deserted since 1974, Diken news site reported on Wednesday.

Turkish pro-government newspaper Daily Sabah reported on Tuesday that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), a breakaway state recognised only by Turkey, planned to re-open Varosha after 45 years. 

Turkish Cyprus will send a team of experts to Varosha, which is currently surrounded by fencing and watched by guards, to make a list of movable and immovable properties, Kudret Özsaray, TRNC Foreign Minister said on Tuesday.

Once a booming resort district, Varosha was abandoned after Turkey invaded Cyprus following a 1974 coup. The Turkish military later fenced off Varosha, which ever since has been known as a “ghost town”.

UN resolution of 1984 calls for the handover of Varosha to UN control and prohibits any attempt to resettle it by anyone other than the Greek Cypriots who were forced to leave. 

The Turkish Cypriot government’s decision could be linked to various cases related to Varosha examined by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), according to Diken. 

One case was filed by KV Mediterranean Tours over the protracted length and ineffectiveness of Varosha proceedings before the north’s immovable property commission (IPC), Cyprus Mail reported

In 2010, the company applied to IPC for compensation for lost property. The commission determined that a Turkish Cypriot foundation named Evkaf should be included in the process, after the TRNC argued that the closed-off town and large areas outside of it belonged to Evkaf.

The ECHR invited the Republic of Cyprus to submit its legal position by June 18 but then postponed the case to July 30, Diken said.