Turkey's Foreign Ministry on Friday rejected the UN Security Council's statement as well as 'unfounded claims' of several countries on reopening of Maras in Turkish Cyprus.
'We reject the Presidential Statement made by the UN Security Council on the second phase of the Maras initiative, announced by the President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), H.E. Mr. Ersin Tatar, on 20 July 2021, as well as the statements from various countries which are based on unfounded claims and inconsistent with the realities on the Island,' the ministry said in a statement.
'These statements are based on Greek-Greek Cypriot black propaganda and groundless claims, such as that Maras is not TRNC territory, that the TRNC will confiscate the properties in Maras and bring settlers there against the property rights,' it added.
Noting that Maras is part of Turkish Cyprus, it underlined that the city 'has not been opened to settlement and was declared as a military zone as a good will gesture by the TRNC authorities.'
Turkey assured that all decisions taken by the TRNC authorities 'respect the property rights and are in full compliance with international law.'
'Contrary to claims, the relevant UN Security Council resolutions are not violated,' the ministry said.
For its part, the Foreign Ministry of TRNC also slammed the UN Security Council (UNSC) statement, saying the decision to use the public areas and removing the military status of a certain part of the fenced-off area of Maras is 'in line with international law but also aims to protect the rights of the property owners.'
'The wording of the statement of the UNSC Presidency on the 'reopening of the part of the fenced-off area of Varosha' is misleading,' it said, adding: 'The TRNC Council of Ministers has not made a decision for the reopening of the said area removed from military status.'
'It is regrettable for UNSC to make a statement based on the groundless claims by the Greek Cypriot side concerning the 'resettlement' of the fenced-off areas of Maras/Varosha,' it also noted.
Partially opened on Oct. 8, 2020, after remaining a 'ghost town' for decades in the wake of Turkey's 1974 Peace Operation on the island in response to a coup aimed at Cyprus’s annexation by Greece, Maras has attracted both people living in the TRNC as well as foreign tourists, with the environment and landscape around the town also boosting its appeal.
The island of Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when a Greek Cypriot coup aimed at Greece’s annexation of the island was followed by violence against the island’s Turks and Ankara’s intervention as a guarantor power.
It has seen an on-and-off peace process in recent years, including a failed 2017 initiative in Switzerland under the auspices of guarantor countries Turkey, Greece, and the UK. The TRNC was founded in 1983.
By Beyza Binnur Donmez