Northern Cyprus set to reopen Cypriot ghost town on cease-fire lines

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People gaze at Varosha, a former resort area fenced off by the Turkish military since the 1974 division of Cyprus, as they walk on a beach in Famagusta, August 5, 2019. (Reuters)
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The fenced-off area of Varosha, restricted by the Turkish military, is seen from the Dherynia checkpoint, Cyprus, November 12, 2018. (Reuters)
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Updated 07 October 2020

Northern Cyprus set to reopen Cypriot ghost town on cease-fire lines

  • Turkish Cypriot PM Ersin Tatar said the revival of Varosha, now an eerie collection of derelict hotels, churches and residences, would bring trade and tourism benefits
  • The move is likely to anger Greek Cypriots, 39,000 of whom once lived in Varosha before fleeing advancing Turkish forces 46 years ago

ANKARA: Northern Cyprus is almost ready to begin reopening the town of Varosha, the breakaway state’s premier said on Friday, a former resort area fenced off and abandoned in no-man’s land since a 1974 Turkish invasion that split the island.
Turkish Cypriot Prime Minister Ersin Tatar said the revival of Varosha, now an eerie collection of derelict hotels, churches and residences, would bring trade and tourism benefits.
The move is likely to anger Greek Cypriots, 39,000 of whom once lived in Varosha before fleeing advancing Turkish forces 46 years ago, and stoke tensions between the two sides.
Varosha, a southern suburb of the city of Famagusta, has been a ghost town since the invasion, following a brief Greek-inspired coup, that partitioned the eastern Mediterranean island along cease-fire lines into Turkish and Greek Cypriot sides.
The former holiday resort has been off limits to all but the Turkish military since 1974.
Varosha has become a bargaining chip in the decades-long dispute between Greek and Turkish Cypriots. Ringed by a fence extending into the sea, the town is overrun by cacti and debris.
“Varosha is most definitely going to be opened. The tide has shifted, a new page has been turned,” Tatar said. (Northern Cyprus) will become stronger by opening Varosha to tourism.”
Tatar gave no specific time line for reopening Varosha.
“Varosha lies within TRNC territory,” he said, referring to Northern Cyprus, recognized as a state only by Turkey. “Nobody can take it from us. We are successfully continuing on our path. The inventory work is almost complete, we are in the opening phase.”
In February, Turkish and Turkish Cypriot officials visited Varosha, marking one of the most concrete steps by either side toward reviving the ghost town.
The island’s Greek Cypriots live mainly in the south, a republic that is in the European Union. Several peacemaking efforts have made no significant progress and the discovery of offshore energy resources has complicated the picture further.


Danish PM in tears after visiting mink farmer whose animals were culled

Updated 26 November 2020

Danish PM in tears after visiting mink farmer whose animals were culled

COPENHAGEN: Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen broke down on Thursday when visiting a mink farmer who lost his herd following the government’s order this month to cull all 17 million mink in the country to curb the spread of coronavirus.
Frederiksen has faced opposition calls to resign and a vote of no confidence in parliament after an order by the government in early November, which it later admitted was illegal, to cull the country’s entire mink population.
The order was given after authorities found COVID-19 outbreaks at hundreds of mink farms, including a new strain of the virus, suspected of being able to compromise the efficacy of vaccines.
“We have two generations of really skilled mink farmers, father and son, who in a very, very short time have had their life’s work shattered,” Frederiksen told reporters after a meeting with a mink farmer and his son at their farm near Kolding in Western Denmark.
“It has been emotional for them, and... Sorry. It has for me too,” Frederiksen said with a wavering voice, pausing for breath in between words.
The move to cull Denmark’s entire mink population, one of the world’s biggest and highly valued for the quality of its fur, has left the government reeling after it admitted it did not have the legal basis to order the culling of healthy mink.
After a tumultuous couple of weeks since the order was given on Nov. 4, the Minister of Agriculture, Mogens Jensen, stepped down last week after an internal investigation revealed a flawed political process.
Denmark has proposed a ban on all mink breeding in the country until 2022. Tage Pedersen, head of the Danish mink breeders’ association, said this month the industry, which employs around 6,000 people and exports fur pelts worth $800 million annually, is finished.
Denmark’s opposition says the cull of healthy mink should not have been initiated before compensation plans were in place for the owners and workers at some 1,100 mink farms.