The European Union threatens sanctions against Turkey if the country goes ahead with its plans to reopen the abandoned resort of Varosha (in the northern part of Cyprus; ed.). This was stated by Josep Borrell, High Representative for Foreign Policy.
Borrell talks about “unacceptable ads”. The Spaniard recalls that in March European heads of government agreed to impose immediate sanctions on Turkey’s “new provocations”. And Borrell warned that “if Turkey does not back down from its steps, the European foreign ministers will discuss the possible steps at their next meeting.” The next cabinet meeting is scheduled for early September.
The UN Security Council had earlier condemned the Turkish plans. Security Council members said in a joint statement that the plans violate United Nations resolutions on the status of Cyprus.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his North Cypriot counterpart Ersin Tatar announced their intention to reopen Varosha last week. Cyprus considers this a provocation and a demand for a boycott. Varosha was a tourist attraction until the 1974 Turkish invasion forced the residents to flee the area. Since then, the resort in Famagusta has come under Turkish control, but it is still uninhabited.
The two-state solution
Cyprus has been de facto divided into a northern and southern part since the invasion. The south, which is supported by Greece, is internationally recognized and joined the European Union in 2004. Northern Cyprus is recognized only by Turkey.
Turkey advocates a two-state solution, but that is out of the question for the EU. Negotiations on a solution have been deadlocked since 2017. The issue remains a major source of contention between the EU and Turkey, despite efforts to normalize relations over the past year.
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