Israel ‘Following with Deep Concern’ New Greek-Turkish Tensions on Cyprus

21 July, 2021   |   2 weeks ago

Jerusalem, 21 July, 2021 (TPS) -- Recent unilateral Turkish actions and statements regarding the status of Varosha in Cyprus.

Varosha is an abandoned quarter of the city of Famagusta. Before 1974, it was the tourist area of the city. Its inhabitants fled during the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, when the city of Famagusta came under Turkish control, and has since remained abandoned.

Turkey has announced its intentions to reopen Varosha amid Greek objections.

“A new era will begin in Maras which will benefit everyone,” said Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan. Maras is the Turkish name for Varosha.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken condemned “the decision to have Turkish Cypriots take control over parts of Varosha, which is inconsistent with UN resolutions, unacceptable, and incompatible with past commitments to resume settlement talks.”

Israel’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lior Haiat stated Tuesday that “Israel reiterates its solidarity and full support for Cyprus.”

Foreign Minister Lapid has “reiterated that support and solidarity” directly to Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides, who was in Israel on Wednesday for a quick meeting.

Tensions between Greece and Turkey have been mounting in recent years surrounding the control of Cyprus, its territorial waters and natural gas fields.

Cyprus has been divided between a Turkish occupation and a Cypriot side since 1974. The United Nations and the international community reject Turkey’s occupation of the island and its claims to the area’s resources.

Israel in recent years has fostered its ties with Cyprus and Greece, especially on the issue of energy, and has grown distant from Ankara, which has become more Islamic and increasingly anti-Israel.

Greece, Israel, and Cyprus have established an alliance to counter Turkey. Greece and Cyprus are historic adversaries of Turkey.