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Turkish Cyprus decides to reopen disputed Varosha to tourism

The Turkish Cypriot government has decided to reopen Varosha, once a leading tourism destination for Hollywood stars but which later turned into a ghost town following the split of the island, after a 45-year seclusion.

“No steps have been taken on the issue. This is a long haul decision and it will help us clarify our projects [for Varosha],” Turkish Cypriot Prime Minister Ersin Tatar told Turkish broadcaster A Haber on June 18.

“Greek Cyprus might have objections but at the end of the day this place is under our administration. Of course, we have to evaluate the issue with Turkey. What should be done will be done. This is only a beginning.”

The former resort suburb of Famagusta was abandoned and declared a buffer zone between the communities of the island after the Turkish military intervened as a guarantor power following a Greece-inspired coup attempt in 1974.

Before the closure under a United Nations Security Council ruling, there were more than 100 hotels in Varosha, with an accommodation capacity of 10,000. The closure came at a time when hundreds of new constructions were ongoing. The town also hosted a rich library that offered books in Turkish, Greek and English.

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