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Source: European Parliament

B9‑0360/2020

European Parliament resolution on escalating tensions in Varosha following the illegal actions by Turkey and the urgent need for the resumption of talks

(2020/2844(RSP))

 

 

The European Parliament,

 having regard to its previous resolutions on Turkey, in particular those of 17 September 2020 on the preparation of the special European Council summit focusing on the dangerous escalation and the role of Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean[1], of 24 November 2016 on EU-Turkey relations[2], of 27 October 2016 on the situation of journalists in Turkey[3], of 8 February 2018 on the current human rights situation in Turkey[4], of 13 March 2019 on the 2018 Commission Report on Turkey[5], of 19 September 2019 on the situation in Turkey, notably the removal of elected mayors[6], and of 13 November 2014 on Turkish actions creating tensions in the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus[7],

 having regard to its debate of 9 July 2020 on stability and security in the Eastern Mediterranean and the negative repercussions of unilateral actions by Turkey in the region,

 having regard to the previous statements by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, including that of 20 October 2020 on the electoral process in the Turkish Cypriot community, and those of 6 October, 13 October and 15 November 2020 on developments in Varosha,

 having regard to the relevant European Council conclusions on Turkey, including those of 1 and 2 October 2020,

 having regard to the NATO Treaty of 1949,

 having regard to Rule 132(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas Cyprus has been occupied in part by Turkey since the war of 1974; whereas the UN’s Annan Plan for the reunification of the island was agreed by both sides and submitted to popular vote in a referendum in 2004; whereas the Greek Cypriot community voted against the Annan Plan by 76 %, while the Turkish Cypriot community voted in favour by 65 %; whereas Cyprus joined the European Union in 2004; whereas reunification talks had resumed, with leaders committed to peace on both sides, but have been stalled since 2017 owing to Turkey’s refusal to set a date for the final withdrawal of its troops from the island;

B. whereas the city of Famagusta was largely populated by Greek Cypriots before the 1974 war; whereas the city is now a ghost town under Turkish military control; whereas former residents have fled to the southern part of the island; whereas in the framework of peace talks, a commission was established in 2011 to process the property claims of the former residents, allowing them to apply for the full restitution or exchange of their property, or for compensation; whereas many Greek Cypriots have used this commission since 2011 in preparation for the reunification of the island; whereas most have applied for full restitution of their property; whereas restitutions should be performed under the supervision of the UN, not Turkey;

C. whereas Turkey announced the reopening of the symbolic neighbourhood of Varosha in the city of Famagusta at a press conference held on 6 October 2020 by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and then Turkish Cypriot presidential candidate Ersin Tatar; whereas the Turkish military confirmed the decision and opened it to the public on 8 October 2020, despite international outcry and protests in Cyprus; whereas a department store, among other Greek Cypriot properties, was reopened under Turkish control;

D. whereas Turkey has violated UN Security Council resolutions 550 (1984) and 789 (1992) by granting access of the neighbourhood of Varosha in Famagusta to persons that are not its residents, in order to promote the area for tourism; whereas Turkish plans to restore property under the auspices of Turkey, rather than the UN, are seen as a provocation and a violation of the agreed rules on property restitution;

E. whereas regional neighbours, including Greece, have called on Turkey not to go ahead with its plans;

F. whereas the Turkish Cypriot community elected Ersin Tatar as its new leader on 18 October 2020; whereas the outgoing President Mustafa Akinci played an important, positive and historic role in promoting peace and dialogue between the two communities on the island;

G. whereas Turkish President Erdoğan decided to hold a picnic on the beach of Varosha on Sunday 15 November 2020 to commemorate the 37th anniversary of the war, sparking protests, including from Turkish Cypriots who support the reunification of the island;

H. whereas on 10 November 2020, thousands of Turkish Cypriots protested in record numbers in the north of Cyprus against Turkey’s interference in Cyprus, including in Varosha, calling for freedom, democracy, and for the rights of Greek Cypriots from Varosha to be respected; whereas the protest involved the main leaders of the opposition, including former president Mustafa Akinci;

I. whereas Turkey is a candidate country to and important partner of the EU and, as such, is expected to uphold the highest standards of democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law; whereas the EU is clear and determined in defending the EU’s interests, demonstrating its support for and solidarity with Cyprus and upholding the principles of the UN and international law;

1. Firmly condemns Turkey’s unilateral decision to open parts of Varosha in the city of Famagusta from 8 October 2020; calls on Turkey to reverse its actions immediately;

2. Expresses its deep concern over the violation of the status of Varosha, which is explicitly protected under UN Security Council Resolutions 550 and 789;

3. Urges all parties to actively support the negotiations for the fair, comprehensive and viable settlement of the Cyprus problem within the UN framework and in accordance with the EU’s founding principles and international law;

4. Calls for the EU to play an active role in promoting a resumption of negotiations under the auspices of the UN, including by appointing an EU representative to the UN Good Offices mission;

5. Firmly believes that the sustainable resolution of the Cyprus problem would benefit every country in the region, foremost among which Cyprus, Greece and Turkey, as well as the EU;

6. Underlines the importance of constructive engagement with the new Turkish Cypriot President Ersin Tatar, with the aim of reaching a comprehensive settlement and achieving reunification, security and stability on the island and in the region;

7. Calls for a comprehensive settlement based on a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation within the UN framework and in line with UN Security Council resolutions;

8. Commends and pays tribute to the historic role played by former Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akinci in working towards a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus problem;

9. Deplores the fact that the increasing escalation of tensions in Eastern Mediterranean waters undermines prospects for the resumption of direct talks on the comprehensive resolution of the Cyprus problem, while this remains the most effective path with regard to prospects for the delimitation of the Exclusive Economic Zone between Cyprus and Turkey;

10. Expresses serious concerns about the current state of EU-Turkey relations, mainly regarding the dire human rights situation in Turkey and the erosion of democracy and the rule of law; underlines the past and present negative impacts of Turkey’s unilateral foreign policy initiatives in the wider region and that Turkey’s illegal exploration and drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean further add to the deterioration of EU-Turkey relations in general; calls for Turkey and the EU Member States to come together in supporting the peaceful resolution of the conflict and the political dialogue in Libya and to adhere to the UN arms embargo; deplores the negative impact that Turkey’s current foreign policy and other actions in the Mediterranean are having on the stability of the region;

11. Demands that Turkey refrain from attempts to intimidate EU Member States in the Eastern Mediterranean region and calls on the Council to maintain its unified position vis-à-vis actions by Turkey that exacerbate regional rivalries, while considering the possibility of imposing targeted sanctions;

12. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Parliamentary Assembly and the Secretary General of NATO, the President, Government and Parliament of the Republic of Turkey, and the EU Member States.

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