Northern Cyprus reopened the beach area of a resort abandoned since Turkey invaded the island in 1974, a witness said on Thursday, taking a step supported by Ankara but condemned by Greek Cypriots and causing concern internationally.
The move could hurt efforts to revive settlement talks on the island and stoke Turkey’s row with EU members Cyprus and Greece over east Mediterranean maritime rights, which cooled after Ankara and Athens agreed to resume talks.
A witness said the beachfront area was opened to the public in Varosha, a deserted suburb of the city of Famagusta in the breakaway state of Northern Cyprus on the eastern coast of the divided Mediterranean island.
Ersin Tatar, premier of the breakaway state of Northern Cyprus which is only recognized by Turkey, unveiled the move in Ankara on Tuesday alongside President Tayyip Erdogan, who said he hoped the whole of the district would be opened up.
Greece called on Turkey to step back from the reopening, warning that Athens and Nicosia stand ready to bring the issue before the European leaders meeting next week, its government spokesman said on Thursday.
The internationally recognized government of Cyprus, a close ally of Greece, has already condemned the move and said it would file a recourse to the United Nations Security Council. Russia said re-opening the beach was unacceptable.