Turkey says Cyprus ‘ghost town’ to be opened

Kudret Ozersay, the foreign minister of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, center, speaks to Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, left, during a visit to the uninhabited Famagusta suburb of Varosha. (AP Photo)
Updated 12 September 2019

Turkey says Cyprus ‘ghost town’ to be opened

  • Varosha was the premier tourist resort on the island of Cyprus, but was abandoned after the Turkish invasion in 1974
  • Varosha residents were forced to flee south and the town remains occupied by Turkish troops to this day

ISTANBUL: Ankara is planning to open the abandoned town of Varosha on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday.
“Yes there are preparations. Varosha will be opened,” Cavusoglu told the private CNN-Turk broadcaster.
Varosha was fenced off by the Turkish military in 1974 when they invaded the north of the island in response to an Athens-engineered coup attempting to unite Cyprus with Greece.
Varosha was the premier tourist resort on the island of Cyprus, but has been abandoned for more than four decades since the Turkish invasion.
The self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was unilaterally declared in 1983 in a move recognized only by Ankara.
Varosha residents were forced to flee south and the town remains occupied by Turkish troops to this day.


Asylum-seeking Iranian beauty queen still in custody at Manila airport

Updated 4 min 55 sec ago

Asylum-seeking Iranian beauty queen still in custody at Manila airport

  • Bahari said authorities in the Philippines were keeping her in the dark about the status of her asylum case
  • She has consistently said the assault and battery case against her is fake, and Tehran was targeting her for supporting an opposition politician

MANILA: An Iranian beauty queen seeking asylum in the Philippines remains incarcerated at Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport almost a week after she was barred from entering the southeast Asian country due to an Interpol red notice.
Bahareh Zare Bahari, Iran’s representative to the 2018 Miss Intercontinental pageant, was arrested at the airport last Thursday following a charge against her for an assault and battery case allegedly committed in Dagupan City in the Philippines. Bahari denies any wrongdoing. 
Speaking to Arab News by telephone on Wednesday, Bahari said authorities in the Philippines were keeping her in the dark about the status of her asylum case.
“Filipino authorities are not updating me. They said they sent a letter to Interpol in Iran to get an answer from them. So they told me I have to wait until Iran Interpol answers,” she said. 
Bahari also said she was not feeling well and had been examined by a doctor at the airport on Tuesday. She did not provide details of her ailment.
Bahari has consistently said the assault and battery case against her is fake, and Tehran was targeting her for supporting an opposition politician and violating traditional values by taking part in beauty pageants and speaking for women’s rights.
In January, she appeared at a pageant carrying a picture of Reza Pahlavi, an Iranian opposition leader and founder of the National Council of Iran.
“I have used his photo in a beauty pageant and the Iranian government are angry with me,” Bahari said, adding: “If I am deported to Iran, they will give me at least 25 years in jail, if they do not kill me.”
Tehran has not commented on Bahari’s statements. 
Bahari said last week that she had traveled to the Philippines after a vacation in Dubai, where she did not encounter any problems with immigration authorities, adding that she was surprised when she was intercepted at the airport in Manila and informed that she was on an Interpol list.
Bahari said her lawyer “had checked all records in the Philippines and with Interpol,” but there was no record against her.
The beauty queen has denied committing any crimes in Iran, or in the Philippines where she has been studying dentistry since 2014.
The Philippines Department of Justice (DoJ) Undersecretary and spokesperson Mark Perete said in a statement last week that Bahari remained in custody at the airport and “could not be sent back to Iran because she has filed an application for asylum.”
The DoJ would resolve her asylum application “in due time,” Perete added.