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Von der Leyen Calls On Turkey To Reverse Actions Taken In Varosha

Von der Leyen Calls On Turkey To Reverse Actions Taken In Varosha

European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, has called on Turkey “to reverse the actions undertaken in Varosha since October 2020” and said that Turkish President Erdogan’s and Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar’s statements on Varosha were “an unacceptable unilateral decision” to change the status of the fenced off area. She repeated the EU’s commitment to a solution based on a bizonal bicommunal federation with political equality and that the EU expects Turkey to do the same.

Von der Leyen was responding in writing to a letter by Cypriot MEP Niyazi Kizilyurek (AKEL - GUE/NGL) dated 15/7/2021 on the involvement of the Turkish government in the affairs of the Turkish Cypriot community. The Commission President’s letter was dated 30/8/2021.

The Commission President also points out that EU Foreign Ministers “will consider actions at their next meeting, in case of non-reversal of Turkey’s actions” that are contrary to UN Security Council resolutions, following the March 25th European Council statement on the EU’s determination “to use the instruments and options at its disposal to defend its interests and those of its Member States, as well as to uphold regional stability”.

In her letter, which was publicised by the MEP’s office, Von der Leyen points out that the EU has been following developments very closely, including the Turkish President’s visit to the areas of the Republic of Cyprus in which the government does not exercise effective control.

“The EU’s position on the Cyprus issue is unchanged, as confirmed by EU leaders most recently at their meeting in June. The EU remains fully committed to the comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem based on a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation with political equality, in accordance with the relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions and in line with the principles on which the EU is founded” the Commission President adds, underlining that “we expect that same of Turkey”.

“We learned with deep concern the announcements made by President Erdogan and Mr Tatar on 20 July 2021 on the fenced-off area of Varosha, which constitutes an unacceptable unilateral decision to change its status,” the letter continues.

Von der Leyen points out that High Representative, Josep Borrell, strongly condemned Turkey’s unilateral steps in a declaration on behalf of the EU on July 27th, and adds that “no actions should be carried out in relation to Varosha that are not in accordance with relevant UN Security Council Resolutions, in particular Resolution 550 (1984) and Resolution 789 (1992)”.

She also notes that respect and implementation of UN resolutions also requires an end to restriction of movements of UNFICYP in the Varosha area.

“It is crucial that Turkey commits and contributes constructively to the resumption of negotiations for a comprehensive settlement, in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions”, the Commission President adds, pointing out that the EU continues to support the UN Secretary General’s efforts and underlining that “it is even more important to avoid unilateral actions in breach of international law and renewed provocations, which could raise tensions on the island and compromise a return to the settlement talks. We will continue conveying this crucial message to our Turkish interlocutors”.

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