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Source: European Parliament


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


The European Parliament,

 recalling the 1979 High Level Agreement between the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus,

 having regard to the core principles of international law and the UN Charter, as well as to the relevant UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolutions, in particular Resolutions 550 (1984) and 789 (1992),

 having regard to the UNSC’s statement of 9 October 2019, which recalls the importance of the status of the sealed-off section of Famagusta (Varosha) as set out in its previous resolutions, and reiterates that no actions that are not in accordance with those resolutions should be carried out, as well as to its declaration of 9 October 2020, which deplores Turkey’s unilateral action of ‘opening’ part of the area on 8 October 2020,

 having regard to its previous declaration of 14 February 2012 on the return of the sealed-off section of Famagusta to its lawful inhabitants[1],

 having regard to the report by the Committee on Petitions of 17 July 2008 on the Fact Finding Visit to Cyprus of 25 to 28 November 2007 concerning petition 733/2004, and to its report of 21 November 2018 on the follow up mission of 7 to 8 May 2018, and the recommendations therein,

 having regard to its resolution of 23 September 2008 on the deliberations of the Committee on Petitions during 2007[2], its resolution of 22 April 2009 on the deliberations of the Committee on Petitions during the year 2008[3], and to its resolution of 13 February 2019 on the outcome of the Committee on Petitions’ deliberations during 2018[4],

 having regard to its previous resolutions on the European Commission’s Progress Reports on Turkey, in particular its latest resolution of 13 March 2019[5], which calls on Turkey ‘to transfer the sealed-off area of Famagusta to the UN in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 550, and to refrain from actions altering the demographic balance on the island through a policy of illegal settlements’,

 having regard to its recent resolution 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[6], in which it is underlined that ‘further sanctions can only be avoided through dialogue, sincere cooperation and concrete progress on the ground’,

 having regard to the European Council Conclusions of 1 October 2020, which reiterate the EU’s commitment to the full respect of UNSC Resolutions 550 (1984) and 789 (1992),

 having regard to the relevant statements by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and in particular his declaration of 13 October 2020 expressing the EU’s concern over the decision by Ankara to proceed with the ‘opening’ of the coastal front of Varosha as of 8 October 2020,

 having regard to the UN Secretary-General’s statement following his meeting with the two leaders at Berlin in November 2019 and his recent publicly announced readiness to engage in a new effort to resume negotiations provided that this would be meaningful, as well as to his decision to send his Special Envoy Jane Holl Lute to the island for exploratory meetings by the end of this month,

 having regard to Rule 132(2) and (4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas the city of Famagusta in the Republic of Cyprus was invaded by Turkish forces in August 1974, and has been illegally occupied ever since;

B. whereas a section of Famagusta was then sealed off, and has remained uninhabited and under the direct control of the Turkish military;

C. whereas the UN considers that the responsibility for the status quo at Varosha belongs to Turkey, and therefore also the responsibility for any effort to alter its status contrary to the 1979 High Level Agreement and the relevant UNSC Resolutions 550 (1984) and 789 (1992);

D. whereas UNSC Resolution 550 (1984) ‘considers attempts to settle any part of Varosha by people other than its inhabitants as inadmissible and calls for the transfer of that area to the administration of the United Nations’, and whereas UNSC 789 (1992) urges, with a view to the implementation of Resolution 550 (1984), that as a confidence-building measure Varosha should be transferred ‘under the control of the United Nations Peace-keeping Force in Cyprus’;

E. whereas the return of the sealed-off section of Famagusta to its lawful inhabitants would facilitate efforts towards the comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem;

F. whereas Turkey, with the support of the current Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar, has proceeded to the ‘opening’ of a part of Varosha in violation of past agreements and the relevant UNSC resolutions;

G. whereas Turkey has declared that it will proceed unilaterally with various projects in Varosha, threatening to prepare the area for its illegal settlement;

H. whereas the visit of the Turkish President Erdoğan to the occupied area of Cyprus accompanied by the leader of the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Devlet Bahçeli to ‘hold a picnic’ at Varosha on 15 November is extremely provocative, and has also induced strong reactions among the Turkish Cypriots;

I. whereas a vast number of Turkish Cypriots has reacted against the machinations of Ankara and Mr Tatar, leading to a campaign under the slogan ‘#no picnic over pain’;

J. whereas in all previous negotiations, including at the last Conference on Cyprus at Crans-Montana in 2017, the sealed-off section of Famagusta was included among the areas to be returned to Greek Cypriot administration following the comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem on the agreed basis of a bicommunal bizonal federation;

1. Condemns as illegal Turkey’s unilateral action of ‘opening’ part of the sealed-off section of Famagusta, and warns against any change to the status quo at Varosha in violation of the relevant UNSC resolutions;

2. Deplores the inflammatory statements by the Turkish President during his provocative visit to Varosha, which flagrantly revealed Ankara’s ‘road map’ for the illegal settlement of the sealed-off city and his overt support for the permanent partition of Cyprus;

3. Urges the Government of Turkey to reverse this decision, and avoid any unilateral action that could raise further tensions on the island, in compliance with the recent call of the UN Security Council;

4. Calls on Turkey to act according to the aforementioned UNSC Resolutions, EU decisions and the European Parliament’s resolutions and the recommendations in its reports;

5. Expresses its deep concern that the provocative and illegal ‘opening’ of Varosha is part of a long-term Turkish plan to alter the status of property ownership in the area, and thus to thereby reduce the prospects for the return of Varosha as prescribed by the relevant UNSC resolutions or through the comprehensive solution of the Cyprus problem;

6. Urges Turkey to refrain from carrying out its threats to illegally settle people other than its lawful inhabitants in Varosha, and emphasises that calling for the lawful inhabitants to return to their properties under conditions of military occupation would also amount to an extreme provocation, be unacceptable, and violate the relevant UNSC resolutions;

7. Emphasises that the creation of new fait accompli undermines the prospects for a comprehensive solution of the Cyprus problem, as it modifies the situation on the ground for the worse, deepening the division of the island and entrenching the permanent partition of Cyprus;

8. Deplores the fact that the increasing escalation of tension undermines the prospects for the resumption of substantial negotiations on the comprehensive solution of the Cyprus problem; believes that direct talks under the auspices of the UN remain the only option for reaching a solution that reunites the island and its people, leading, inter alia, to the normalisation of relations between Cyprus and Turkey, improved prospects for the delimitation of the economic exclusion zone between Cyprus and Turkey, and the enhancement of EU-Turkey relations;

9. Reiterates its support for the resumption of negotiations for the comprehensive solution of the Cyprus problem as soon as possible, on the agreed basis of a bicommunal bizonal federation with a single international legal personality, single sovereignty and single citizenship, and with political equality between the two communities, as defined by the relevant UNSC resolutions, in accordance with international law and the EU acquis, and on the basis of respect for the principles on which the Union is founded;

10. Recalls the UN Secretary-General’s call for the resumption of negotiations from where they left off at Crans-Montana in 2017, therefore on the basis of the Common Declaration of the two leaders of 2014, and his Six Points Framework of 30 June 2017; recalls the convergences achieved by the end of the Conference, and urges Turkey to commit concretely to this aim;

11. Urges EU institutions and officials to coordinate with Parliament in endeavouring to convince Turkey to reverse its illegal actions in Varosha, refrain from proceeding with any unilateral activities which further violate the sovereignty and sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus or which seek to create a new fait accompli in violation of the Law of the Sea and undermine the reunification of Cyprus on the basis agreed; urges them to promote the positive prospects of its cooperation;

12. Underlines the EU’s readiness to play an active role in supporting the negotiations, including by appointing a representative to the UN Good Offices Mission upon their resumption;

13. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union of Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Council, the Commission, the government and parliaments of the Member States, the United Nations and Turkey, ensuring translation of this text into Turkish.


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