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Source: European Parliament

B9‑0357/2020

European Parliament resolution on the 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 resolution of 13 March 2019 on the 2018 Commission Report on Turkey[1],

 having regard to the most recent Commission reports on Turkey, namely the 2019 and 2018 Commission Reports on Turkey,

 having regard to joint statement by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) and Commissioner Ferreira on the electoral process in the Turkish Cypriot community of 20 October 2020, to the VP/HR’s remarks at the Foreign Affairs Council of 12 October 2020 and to the VP/HR’s statement on Varosha of 15 November 2020,

 having regard to the relevant Council and European Council conclusions, and in particular the Council conclusions of 1 October 2020 and the General Affairs Council conclusions of 26 April 2004,

 having regard to its resolutions on the deliberations of the Committee on Petitions of 23 September 2008[2], 22 April 2009[3] and 13 February 2018[4],

 having regard to the relevant UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions, in particular Resolution 550 (1984) and Resolution 789 (1992),

 having regard to the UN Security Council Presidential Statement of 9 October 2020 (S/PRST/2020/9),

 having regard to the 1979 High Level Agreement between the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus,

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

A. whereas in 1974, following a failed coup by Greece in an attempt to wrest control of the island from former President Archbishop Makarios III, Turkey responded by sending military forces to northern Cyprus, leading tens of thousands of Greek Cypriots to flee to the south, and a smaller population of Turkish Cypriots living in southern Cyprus to flee to the north of the island;

B. whereas, since the intervention of the Turkish military in 1974, Varosha, the 6 km2 southern quarter of the city of Famagusta, has been sealed-off and has remained uninhabited, under the control of the Turkish military; whereas since then, the Cypriots who were forced to leave Varosha have had no recourse and no possibility to return to their homes;

C. whereas the two Cypriot communities have expressed their intention to reach an agreement on the resettlement of Varosha’s lawful inhabitants as part of the 1979 High Level Agreement, which highlighted that the resettlement of Varosha was a unified Cypriot priority, that both sides were open to acts of goodwill, and that the UN should play a role in resolving the issue;

D. whereas UNSC Resolution 550 (1984) considers ‘any attempts to settle any part of Varosha by people other than its inhabitants as inadmissible and calls for the transfer of this area to the administration of the United Nations’; whereas UNSC Resolution 789 (1992) also urges that ‘the area under the control of the UN Peace-Keeping Force in Cyprus be extended to include Varosha’;

E. whereas, irrespective of the abovementioned UNSC resolutions, a part of Varosha has been unilaterally reopened by the Turkish military, in cooperation with the Turkish Cypriot community leader Ersin Tatar; whereas the President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, visited Varosha on 15 November 2020, exacerbating already heightened tensions between Athens, Ankara and Nicosia;

F. whereas the interference of Ankara in internal Turkish-Cypriot affairs increased dramatically during the recent elections for the Turkish Cypriot leadership; whereas the nationalist candidate Ersin Tatar, who opposes the comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus issue based on a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation, as provided for by UN parameters, received strong support from Ankara and won the election;

1. Stresses that the situation in Varosha is a sharp reminder of the ongoing, long-unresolved dispute and related risk of continued escalating tensions between Cypriot communities and is firmly convinced that a comprehensive settlement can only be found through dialogue and diplomacy and with the direct participation in negotiations of both the Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish Cypriot community, under the auspices of the UN;

2. Firmly criticises Ankara’s increasing interference in internal Turkish-Cypriot affairs, which has peaked in the unilateral reopening of the coastline of Varosha and which has also sparked protests in parts of the Turkish Cypriot community; is deeply concerned about this unilateral action in violation of the relevant UNSC resolutions; in the absence of a much-needed resumption of dialogue and negotiations on the Cyprus issue, calls for the reversal of this course of action and urges all parties involved to avoid engaging in unilateral actions and to comply with the statement of the UN Security Council of 20 October 2020;

3. Notes that the Republic of Cyprus continues to maintain the return of Varosha as a cornerstone of confidence-building measures with the Turkish Cypriots, including joint ventures seeking to restore the abandoned city;

4. Regrets that previous proposals for confidence-building measures aimed at handing over Varosha to UN control and allowing the Turkish-Cypriot port of Famagusta to reopen have not been successful; praises grass-root projects such as the Famagusta Ecocity Project, which is led by both Greek and Turkish Cypriots and is aimed at re-building an integrated, sustainable, environmentally responsible Famagusta that promotes and embraces peaceful coexistence among all of its inhabitants;

5. Calls for constructive engagement among the Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish Cypriot community, with a view to reaching a comprehensive settlement and reunification; emphasises and supports the VP/HR’s statement supporting the resumption of negotiations, under the auspices of the UN;

6. Stands by both the Turkish and the Greek Cypriot communities in their quest for peace and stability and calls on the Commission to promptly implement the second Annual Action Programme for aid to the Turkish Cypriot community, aimed at supporting projects that foster reconciliation and improve infrastructure, environmental protection and economic development; calls, in particular, for continued and increased support for civil society in both the Turkish and the Greek Cypriot communities, both through the EU Aid Programme and more structurally as part of the new multiannual financial framework, in particular through the Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values Programme;

7. Remains fully committed to a comprehensive settlement of the issue, in accordance with the wishes of the Cypriot people, and to a reunification based on a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation, with a single international legal personality, single sovereignty and single citizenship and with political equality between the two communities, within the UN framework and in accordance with the relevant UNSC resolutions, including Resolution 550 (1984) and Resolution 789 (1992), and in line with the principles on which the EU is founded;

8. Calls on the European External Action Service to actively support these negotiations and to support the call by the UN Secretary-General and the UN Security Council for both Cypriot sides and the Guarantor Powers to urgently resume negotiations and urgently convene a meeting as agreed in November 2019;

9. Calls for this resolution to be translated into Turkish;

10. 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 EU Member States, the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community and its Assembly of the Republic, and the President, Government and Parliament of the Republic of Turkey.

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