Dispute over ghost town on Cyprus

The Prime Minister of the internationally unrecognised Republic of North Cyprus, Ersin Tatar, opened Varosha beach to visitors on Thursday - a provocation for the Cypriot government: the former holiday paradise has been a ghost town ever since the Greek Cyriot inhabitants fled from Turkish troops during the 1974 conflict in Cyprus. In the Turkish-occupied part of the island a new president is to be elected on Sunday, with Tatar competing against incumbent Mustafa Akıncı.

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Hürriyet Daily News (TR) /

This manoeuvre will backfire

Hürriyet Daily News can't understand why the prime minister made this move:

“All these were, of course, desperate last-minute efforts by [the Prime Minister of Northern Cyprus Ersin] Tatar to win the upcoming presidential vote. So far, only the ultra-nationalist groups and UBP supporters appear to be happy with the Varosha decision. ... If in all public opinion polls he was second to Akıncı in the first voting and in the runoff on Oct. 18 he was slated to win comfortably, why did he undertake such a move that might draw backlash at home? ... As many as 40 percent of voters were undecided in the latest public opinion polls. The latest developments might perhaps help improve the percentage of people participating in the presidential vote Sunday, a development that could herald bad news for Tatar and his supporters.”

Kıbrıs (CY) /

Don't leave the Pearl of the Mediterranean to rot

This move was long overdue, stresses journalist Cemal Akay in Kıbrıs:

“For the last 46 years the city has been home to snakes, centipedes, mice and all kinds of pests. ... Has it not suffered enough from neglect and decay? Can it be fair to keep Maraş [the Turkish name for Varosha], once known as the Pearl of the Mediterranean, closed, abandoned to its fate and removed from the service of humanity? The decision to open it and repair it comes very late for us. Nevertheless, we applaud it in the spirit of the old adage: 'Better late than never'.”

Phileleftheros (CY) /

Nicosia remained dormant for too long

Phileleftheros author Aristos Michailidis explains the Cypriot government's mistakes:

“Implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 550, which calls on Turkey to hand over Famagusta [the city to which Varosha belongs] to the United Nations, has been pending since 1984. When did we ever insist on this in order to move forward? ... When did we speak, when did we inform, when did we portray this ghost town as the greatest madness of the occupation? When did we use common sense in the face of irrationality? When did we define a strategy? ... We have simply grown used to everything, we have accepted it, and when we are faced with faits accomplis we do not know how to react.”