The coastline of the abandoned town of Maras in the Turkish Cypriot city of Gazimagusa will reopen on Thursday, the prime minister of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) announced Tuesday.
The coastline of Maras will be open for public use as of Thursday morning, Ersin Tatar said in a joint news conference with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the capital Ankara.
Maras is currently a ghost town where entry is forbidden, except for Turkish army personnel stationed in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).
"Maras issue is a national cause above all political competitions and debates," Tatar said.
"It is a fact that Maras is a TRNC territory. We fully support the decision to make Maras's coastline available to the public," Erdogan said.
Turkey is also ready to support the Turkish Cypriot administration to fully open the town of Maras, Erdogan stressed.
“The objections of the opposing party have already been in vain, as there will be no victimization due to the absence of any private property [in Maras],” Erdogan said.
The TRNC had announced the opening of Maras to tourists in 2019.
Turkish Cypriots ignored again at EU summit
“Turkish Cypriot people were again ignored at the latest EU summit. Turkey will not allow the continuation of this injustice,” he said.
“As the TRNC grows, gets richer and stronger, the embargo chains imposed on it will begin to break one by one,” Erdogan said.
The president stressed that Turkey will continue its political, diplomatic, and military support to the TRNC.
Erdogan also said there are two dimensions of the Eastern Mediterranean issue.
"The first of which is the protection of the rights of Turkey's continental shelf, and the second is to guarantee the rights of Cyprus with respect to natural resources on the island and interests of the Turkish people."
The Turkish president stressed that Turkish Cypriots must be rightfully represented in the Eastern Mediterranean Conference planned for the upcoming period.
Tensions have been running high for months in the Eastern Mediterranean, as Greece has disputed Turkey's rights to energy exploration.
Turkey -- the country with the longest coastline on the Mediterranean -- sent out drill ships to explore for energy on its continental shelf, asserting its own rights in the region as well as those of the TRNC.