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Monday, April 14, 2014

Washington is Pressing Turkey on the Ghost Town of Varosha

( - Washington is pressing Turkey to allow experts funded by the US to carry out reports on how the ghost town of Varosha can be transformed into a livable eco-friendly resort.

But the Turkish side continues to raise conditions that cannot be met, insiders told The Cyprus Weekly yesterday.

"They won't even allow the experts funded exclusively by the US to get in and start the project which will take at least six to nine months to be completed, anyway," one source said.

"They want to get conditions met first, and their conditions seem to always lead to the same unacceptable demand for recognition (of the breakaway regime in Turkish-held north)," added the inside source.

One of the Turkish demands is that Famagusta port comes under their control once it opens, and not under the European Union's as proposed by President Anastasiades.

Also, when it comes to the occupied airport of Tymbou or 'Ercan', Nicosia agrees to its full operation but under the condition that it is under the Cyprus Republic's FIR.

Except for the last 20 kilometres when it would be under Turkish Cypriot guidance and this is due to safety reasons and a standard procedure for most regional airports.

"For example, a plane landing in Perth, Australia, is under the FIR of the federal state until it is 20 kilometres away from its destination. Then it comes under Perth, Western Australia's FIR, for safety reasons," an informed source said.

Anastasiades insists on the immediate return of Famagusta to its lawful Greek Cypriot inhabitants and its re-opening under UN and EU auspices. He argues that this is a confidence-building measure that will certainly boost recently re-launched UN-brokered efforts to reunite the island.

A master plan on the re-opening of the port city - whose infrastructure has crumbled over the years - was drafted by the island's Technical Chamber a few years back.

But technocrats agree that the Chamber's master plan would need to be updated.

Nonetheless, the Chamber has been kept completely in the dark when it comes to this new initiative by the US, informed sources said.  

"A group of US experts were on the island recently, visiting Famagusta and holding workshops but that's all we know, the Chamber was not asked to contribute with ideas or relevant information," a source said.

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