Turkey looking to re-open northern Cyprus ghost town after 46 years

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkish and northern Cypriot officials met on Saturday in an abandoned town wrecked by war to discuss potentially re-opening the area after 46 years, a move that Ankara said was a 'historic' opportunity to bring tourism and economic benefits. Varosha, a southern suburb of Famagusta, has been fenced off and abandoned since Turkey invaded northern Cyprus after a Greek-inspired coup in 1974.

Reuters February 16, 2020 01:10:40 IST
Turkey looking to re-open northern Cyprus ghost town after 46 years

Turkey looking to reopen northern Cyprus ghost town after 46 years

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkish and northern Cypriot officials met on Saturday in an abandoned town wrecked by war to discuss potentially re-opening the area after 46 years, a move that Ankara said was a "historic" opportunity to bring tourism and economic benefits.

Varosha, a southern suburb of Famagusta, has been fenced off and abandoned since Turkey invaded northern Cyprus after a Greek-inspired coup in 1974.

Ringed by a fence which extends into the sea, the former holiday resort has been off limits to anyone but the Turkish military since its 39,000 Greek Cypriot residents fled advancing Turkish troops.

Speaking in Varosha after touring the area, Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said opening Varosha would have benefits for tourism, the economy and trade.

"Keeping this coast of paradise under the sovereignty of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus idle is not acceptable legally, politically or economically," Oktay said.

Turkish and northern Cypriot officials were continuing their inventory efforts there, he said.

"There is unfortunately an abandoned area here as well as rotting buildings. Our hope is that Varosha is revived in a way that will revitalise the economic, trade and social life here," Oktay said.

Oktay's visit to the region with Turkish and northern Cypriot officials marks one of the most concrete steps by either side towards re-opening Varosha.

The island of Cyprus was divided in 1974. The island's Greek Cypriots live predominantly in the south, and Turkish Cypriots in the north since the 1974 war. Several peacemaking efforts have failed and the discovery of offshore resources has complicated the negotiations.

(Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.