Ankara discusses reopening ghost town in Cyprus

The people of Turkey and the Turkish Cyprus will not accept deadlock as the fate of the long-divided Mediterranean island of Cyprus, said Turkey's vice president on Feb. 15.
Fuat Oktay's remarks came during a meeting on the legal, political and economic aspects of reopening the abandoned town of Varosha (Maraş) -- empty for decades -- in the Turkish Cypriot city of Gazimağusa.
Oktay said efforts to open the abandoned town proved that Turkish Cypriots would not accept the status quo.
Turkey aims to protect the rights of Cypriot Turks and ensure their political equality with Greek Cypriots, he added.
"Varosha belongs to the Turkish Cyprus," he added, saying: "Steps by the Turkish Cyprus for the economy and welfare of the area are legitimate."
Last year, Oktay said Varosha would reopen after properties in the town were fairly returned to their rightful owners on the basis of historic documents.
Varosha is currently a ghost town where entry is forbidden except for Turkish Cypriot security forces and Turkish army personnel stationed in the Turkish Cyprus.
Abandoned after the passage of resolution 550 of 1984 UN Security Council, an 'inventory count' decision in Varosha was announced by Turkish Cypriot authorities on June 18.
Historical and archival research backed by Turkey found that most of the land in Varosha belongs to Turkish foundations, Oktay had said.
Turkish Cypriot leader Akıncı criticizes meeting in Varosha
Meanwhile Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akıncı criticized the meeting held on Varosha.
Akıncı stressed that Varosha should not remain closed, but he stated that the steps to be taken should be in international law.
"It makes sense if it is handled in a way that contributes to the...

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