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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,

 having regard to its previous resolutions on Turkey, in particular those of 13 March 2019 on the 2018 Commission Report on Turkey[1] and 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[2],

 having regard to its declaration of 14 February 2012 on the return of the sealed-off section of Famagusta to its lawful inhabitants[3],

 having regard to the report of the Committee on Petitions of 21 November 2018 following the fact-finding visit to Famagusta, Cyprus, on 7-8 May 2018, in the context of petition 733/2004 submitted by Loizos Afxentiou, on behalf of the Famagusta Refugee Movement,

 having regard to the Commission communication of 6 October 2020 on EU enlargement policy (COM(2020)0660) and to the accompanying Turkey 2020 Report (SWD(2020)0355),

 having regard to the Negotiating Framework for Turkey of 3 October 2005,

 having regard to the European Council conclusions of 16 October 2020 on Turkey,

 having regard to the declaration by the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy on behalf of the European Union of 13 October 2020 on the developments around Varosha,

 having regard to the statement by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) on Varosha,

 having regard to the joint statement by the VP/HR and Commissioner Ferreira of 20 October 2020 on the electoral process in the Turkish Cypriot community,

 having regard to the core principles of international law and the UN Charter, and to the relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council (UNSC) on Cyprus, including Resolutions 550 (1984) and 789 (1992),

 having regard to the statements by the President of the UNSC of 9 October 2019 and 9 October 2020 on the situation in Cyprus,

 having regard to Rule 132(2) 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, under the direct control of the Turkish military;

C. whereas the UN considers that the responsibility for the status quo at Varosha is borne by Turkey and that Turkey therefore also bears responsibility for any effort to alter its status contrary to the 1979 High-Level Agreement and 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 Resolution 789 (1992) urges, with a view to the implementation of Resolution 550 (1984), that as a confidence-building measure Varosha should be transferred to its lawful inhabitants ‘under the control of the United Nations Peace-keeping Force in Cyprus’;

E. whereas on 8 October 2020, following the announcement made in Ankara on 6 October 2020, a part of Varosha was partially declared ‘open’, in violation of past agreements and of the relevant UNSC resolutions;

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

G. whereas the visit of the President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, to the occupied area of Cyprus to ‘hold a picnic’ at Varosha on 15 November 2020 was a provocative act that also stirred reactions among Turkish Cypriots;

H. whereas in all previous negotiations, including at the last Conference on Cyprus at Crans-Montana in 2017, Varosha 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 bi-communal and bi-zonal federation;

1. Condemns Turkey’s illegal activities in Varosha, in particular its partial ‘reopening’; emphasises that the creation of a new fait accompli undermines mutual trust and the prospects for a comprehensive solution of the Cyprus problem, by negatively modifying the situation on the ground, exacerbating division and embedding the permanent partition of Cyprus; warns against any change of the status quo in Varosha in violation of the relevant UNSC resolutions;

2. Urges the Government of Turkey to reverse that decision, and avoid any unilateral action that could raise further tensions on the island, in compliance with the recent call of the UNSC; calls on Turkey to withdraw its troops from Cyprus, to transfer the Varosha area to its lawful inhabitants under the temporary administration of the UN in accordance with UNSC Resolution 550 (1984), and to refrain from any actions altering the demographic balance on the island through a policy of illegal settlements; stresses the need for the EU acquis to be implemented across the entire island, following the solution of the Cyprus problem;

3. Stresses 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 Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) between Cyprus and Turkey, and the enhancement of EU-Turkey relations; urges that the negotiations on the reunification of Cyprus under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General be relaunched as soon as possible, and further urges Turkey to enter into a tangible commitment to this end;

4. Calls for the EU and its Member States to play a more active role in bringing the negotiations to a successful conclusion and to coordinate their efforts with the European Parliament to convince Turkey to reverse its illegal activities in Varosha;

5. Reiterates its support for a fair, comprehensive and viable settlement on the basis of a bi-communal, bi-zonal 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; regrets the fact that the highest Turkish authorities have endorsed the two-state solution;

6. Deplores the statements by the President of Turkey during his visit to Varosha on 15 November 2020, which flagrantly revealed Ankara’s ‘road map’ for the illegal settlement of the sealed-off city and his support for the permanent partition of Cyprus;

7. Is firmly convinced that a sustainable conflict resolution can only be found through dialogue, diplomacy and negotiations in a spirit of goodwill and in line with international law;

8. 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, and the President, Government and Parliament of Turkey.


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