Varosha in North Cyprus to Become the Las Vegas of the Mediterranean

Varosha in North Cyprus to Become the Las Vegas of the MediterraneanNorth Cyprus Prime Minister, Ersin Tatar, is quoted as saying that Varosha (Maras) is intended to become the Las Vegas of the Mediterranean returning to it’s old days when it was a popular destination for celebrities such as Elizabeth Taylor and Brigitte Bardot.

“We hear it now. Mr Tatar makes a statement and say ‘we are doing this in dialogue with Turkey’,”  Mustafa Akıncı, the President of North Cyprus said, complaining that he had not been informed of the government’s plans to open up the abandoned tourist resort of Varosha, Havadis Kıbrıs newspaper reported on Saturday.

Akıncı said the presidency represented the will of the Turkish Cypriots and is responsible of initiatives to solve the Cyprus problem. “It seems like there is an effort to bypass the president,” he said.

The Turkish Cypriot president said the government should inform the opposition about any consultations with Turkey over the issue and the two sides should jointly discuss plans on Varosha.

A 1984 UN resolution prohibits any attempt to resettle Varosha with anyone other than its former inhabitants, who abandoned the city when Turkish troops invaded Cyprus following a Greek Cypriot coup in 1974.

“The issue of Varosha should be handled sensitively, but in any case it is an issue that has the potential to contribute to the target of a resolution in Cyprus,” Akıncı said.

According to Akıncı, the Turkish Cypriots can allow Greek or joint Greek-Turkish companies to open shops in Varosha under UN’s control, in exchange for starting international flights to TRNC’s Ercan Airport. If that is not possible, that Varosha can be opened under Turkish Cypriot control without causing any frictions with the UN, Akıncı said. “Yet, for both options, I want to emphasise once more the importance of being compatible with the UN and to act in the framework of international law,” he said.

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