France calls Cypriot-Turkish ghost town initiative a “provocation” – .

France calls Cypriot-Turkish ghost town initiative a “provocation” – .

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian speaks during a press conference with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the French Foreign Ministry in Paris, France, June 25, 2021. Andrew Harnik / Pool via REUTERS

PARIS / ISTANBUL, July 21 (Reuters) – France on Wednesday called the decision by Turkish Cypriot authorities to partially reopen an abandoned city in Cyprus for possible resettlement a “provocation” in Ankara’s latest criticism of the West. rejected.

Turkish Cypriots said on Tuesday that part of Varosha would come under civilian control and people could reclaim property – angering Greek Cypriots who accused their Turkish rivals of orchestrating a land grab by the evasion. Read more

Varosha, a bizarre collection of abandoned high-rise hotels and residences in a military zone no one has been allowed to enter, has been deserted since a 1974 war divided the island.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian discussed the issue with his Cypriot counterpart on Tuesday and will address the subject at the United Nations, a ministry spokesperson Le Drian said.

Cyprus is represented in the European Union by an internationally recognized Greek Cypriot government. France is chairing the UN Security Council this month.

“France deeply regrets this unilateral approach, on which there had been no consultation, which constitutes a provocation and undermines the restoration of the confidence necessary to resume urgent talks to reach a just and lasting solution to the Cyprus question” , he added. Drian’s spokesperson said.

The EU, the United States, Britain and Greece also opposed the plan unveiled during Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Nicosia on Tuesday. He called this a “new era” for Varosha on the east coast of the island.

Turkey’s foreign ministry said criticism of the EU was “null and void” because it is disconnected from realities on the ground and favors EU member Greece. “It is not possible for the EU to play a positive role in seeking a settlement on the Cyprus issue,” he said.

Peace efforts have repeatedly failed on the ethnically divided island. A new Turkish Cypriot leadership, backed by Turkey, says a peace deal between two sovereign states is the only viable option.

The Greek Cypriots reject a two-state deal for the island that would grant sovereign status to the separatist Turkish Cypriot state that only Ankara recognizes.

Report by Sudip Kar-Gupta in Paris and Jonathan Spicer in Istanbul; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne, Andrew Heavens and Catherine Evans

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