The Turkish side continues the works for opening part of the fenced off area of Varosha, in Turkish occupied Famagusta.
CNA photographer Katia Christodoulou revisited the area, often described as ghost town on Friday, 4 of June, the first day of the reopening of the crossing points from and to the government controlled areas of the Republic of Cyprus after almost 15 months of inactivity due to measures in place to contain the Covid pandemic.
Her photographs and video show that works in the new part of the Chrysi Akti beach (golden coast) that extends to the Venus Hotel and will be accessible to the public are almost completed.
The part of the beach that will be opened is where Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan paid an illegal visit on November 15, 2020 and had lunch with the Turkish Cypriot leader at a kiosk that was built for that visit, which is still there. Palm trees have been planted along the path that has been built leading to the beach, as well as a canteen which is closed.
Umbrellas and sun beds have been placed on the beach, which is accessible but not for use.
It is recalled that part of the beach of Chrysi Akti has been open since 1975, as well as three hotels which are in front of it, but their use was limited to the members of the Turkish occupation army.
That area is no longer accessible and people can not pass through it, as it was the case initially when the fenced off area of Famagusta opened, early last October.
Before the strictly inaccessible military area, works are being carried out and a large piece of land is leveled, but there is no indication of what is prepared there.
Cyclists and several “police officers”, are to be seen in the roads that are open and accessible. Surveillance cameras are everywhere. Plants, grass and trees have been removed from several house front gardens. The access to buildings is no longer allowed and wooden stakes with ropes have been placed everywhere.
Time has left its marks. A favourite place of the people of Varosha before the Turkish invasion, called Faliro, which belonged to the Municipality of Famagusta collapsed. The building, located in front of the sea, has been destroyed. The King George Hotel, one of the oldest on the seafront, is badly damaged.
There are not many pedestrians or cars on the streets, rather than the vehicles of the Turkish army, as well as other vehicles that enter the fenced off area from a different point.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Varosha, the fenced off section of the Turkish occupied town of Famagusta, is often described as a ‘ghost town’.
UN Security Council resolution 550 (1984) considers any attempts to settle any part of Varosha by people other than its inhabitants as inadmissible and calls for the transfer of this area to the administration of the UN. UN Security Council resolution 789 (1992) also urges that with a view to the implementation of resolution 550 (1984), the area at present under the control of the United Nations Peace-keeping Force in Cyprus be extended to include Varosha.
On October 8, 2020, the Turkish side opened part of the fenced area of Varosha, following an announcement made in Ankara on October 6. Both the UN Secretary-General and the EU expressed concern, while the UN Security Council called for the reversal of this course of action.
Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks to solve the Cyprus issue have so far failed to yield results.
The 5+1 Informal Meeting that took place in Geneva, on April 27-29, has failed to find enough common ground to allow for the resumption of formal negotiations in relation to the settlement of the Cyprus problem.
UN Secretary – General, Antonio Guterres, has said that he will convene in the near future another meeting of the 5+1, the five plus the United Nations, again with the objective to move in the direction of reaching common ground to allow for formal negotiations to start.