Members of the European Parliament will conduct a fact-finding visit to the Turkish occupied town of Famagusta on Tuesday. The purpose of their mission is to reassess the situation in Famagusta and to raise once again the issue of the return of the town back to its lawful inhabitants, on the basis of the provisions of a European Parliament Declaration of 14 February 2012, which calls, among others on the Turkish government to implement UN Security Council resolutions (550) and 789 (1992).
The delegation of the EP Committee on Petitions, which kicked-off its meetings on Monday in Nicosia, comprises members of the Committee Cecilia Wilkstrom (ALDE, SV) – Chair of the delegation, Alberto Cirio (PPE, IT), Rosa Estaras Ferragut (PPE, ES), Sofia Sakorafa (GUE-NGL, GR), Angela Vallina(GUE-NGL, ES) and Igor Soltes (Greens/EFA, SL) as well as ex-officio members Teresa Jimenez – Becerril (EPP, ES), Demetris Papadakis (S&D, CY) and Takis Hadjigeorgiou (GUE-NGL, CY).
The MEPs will visit in the morning (approximately at 1000-1200 local time) the `Glossa` beach bordering the fenced off city of Varosha in Famagusta, in the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus. Then they will return to the government-controlled areas, where Wilkstrom and Famagusta Mayor Alexis Galanos will give a press conference at Famagusta Municipality Cultural Centre in Dherynia, which borders the occupied city.
The delegation’s mission takes place in the context of the follow-up to petition 733/2004, 10 years after the Committee’s previous fact-finding visit to the island on 25-28 November 2007. The petition was submitted by Loizos Afxentiou on behalf of the Famagusta Refugee Movement.
In a press conference last week Galanos and MEP Hadjigeorgiou urged people from the Turkish occupied town of Famagusta to participate in the visit of the EP Committee on Petitions delegation to demonstrate their will for the return of the city, in accordance with UN resolutions.
The Republic of Cyprus, an EU member state since 2004, has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.
Varosha, the fenced – off part of the once thriving holiday resort, on the eastern coast of Cyprus, has been sealed since the 1974 Turkish invasion and according to the UN the Turkish military is responsible for it. Repeated attempts to hand the area to UN administration and its Greek Cypriot lawful inhabitants have so far failed due to the stance of the Turkish army.