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Media Watch 2003

18 September 2003
Source: Cyprus Mail
Author: Jean Christou and Gokhan Tezgor
Comment: The following article appeared in the Cyprus Mail of Nicosia on 18 September 2003.
Denktash determined Varosha resettlement

TURKISH Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash said yesterday the Turkish side was preparing for the introduction of new measures, which would include the opening of Varosha for resettlement together with the United Nations.

Following a meeting in the north, Denktash told reporters that a date to announce the new measures had not been determined yet.
“Our proposal is to open Varosha to settlement, with the condition that the rights of the (Turkish Cypriot) Vakiflar still stands, Varosha is a part of our territory,” said Denktash.

“We are considering equal say in the matter to the UN (in Varosha) in order to help alleviate Greek Cypriot security concerns,” he added.
Denktash said the Vakiflar, Turkish Cypriot religious foundations, did not want to see the properties deteriorate, and in order to prevent further decay of unclaimed Greek Cypriot properties, the Turkish side was considering the leasing of these properties.

“But we are patiently waiting to solve the issue where the rights of the Vakiflar and the Greek Cypriot property owners are protected,” said Denktash.
The issue of the abandoned Greek Cypriot area in occupied Famagusta was in the headlines early this month after it was revealed that Turkey had planned in August to give control of the once-thriving tourist resort to the Turkish Cypriot administration and that Denktash had offered to allow Greek Cypriots to return and live under Turkish Cypriot administration.

Since 1974, Turkish troops have had control of the abandoned town, but under a UN resolution the status quo must be maintained in the absence of a Cyprus settlement.

In July, Denktash dramatically announced that he was willing to give back part of Varosha to the Greek Cypriots under UN auspices if Nicosia Airport was reopened. When then Greek Cypriot side declined, he threatened to resettle the area, although how he would finance the massive cost of reconstruction is unclear.

Denktash has talked of creating 15,000 new jobs and 20,000 hotel beds to rejuvenate the area and revealed that Turkish Cypriot businessmen had already begun to react positively to initiatives by the Vakiflar to draw up a master plan for revitalising Varosha and boosting the economy in the north.

In his comments to the press yesterday, Denktash also addressed the issue of the education of Greek Cypriots living in occupied Rizokarpaso, saying the Greek Cypriots should have no reason to complain.

He was commenting on protests by the Greek Cypriot side that he had refused to allow the reopening of the secondary school in the enclaved village.
“After the borders have opened they are able freely go back and forth as they please,” said Denktash. “A middle school cannot be opened for seven children, nowhere in the world has this been seen...This will waste the children’s time, not educate them.”

He added that the 120 Turkish Cypriot pupils in the area were bussed to Kokkina to attend a secondary school.

“The Turkish Cypriots in the village are insisting on a middle school also. The government will most likely appraise the situation, and if such a school is opened, teachers can be posted there to teach the Greek Cypriot children,” said Denktash.

“The education will be in Turkish and Greek, thus allowing for easy interaction,” he added."