The mayor of the Turkish occupied town of Famagusta has welcomed a European Parliament declaration calling on Turkey to return the fenced-off part of the town to its lawful inhabitants. Mayor Alexis Galanos has described the written declaration, signed by 390 Euro MPs, as of historic significance and called on EU institutions to implement it.
The declaration was introduced by MEPs Lidia Joanna Geringer de Oedenberg, Willy Meyer, Michalis Tremopoulos, Cecilia Wikstrom and Artur Zasada, after the initiative of Cypriot MEPs and citizens of Famagusta with the support of Famagusta Municipality. It recalls that UNSC resolutions 550(1984) and 789(1992) call for ``the transfer of this area to the administration of the United Nations.`` It further notes that the 1979 High Level Agreement, between the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities, says that priority should be given to the resettlement of Famagusta under the UN auspices.
The declaration ``calls on the Government of Turkey to act according to the aforementioned UNSC Resolutions and Report Recommendations and return the Famagusta sealed-off section to its lawful inhabitants, who must resettle under conditions of security and peace,`` urging the EU institutions to coordinate their efforts with Parliament to promote Turkeys cooperation.
Famagusta, a thriving holiday resort until the 1974 Turkish invasion, has become a ghost town, with derelict buildings, abandoned to the elements since it fell to the advancing Turkish troops in mid August 1974. The UN hold Turkey responsible for the fenced off area of the town but in spite of repeated calls for its return to the lawful inhabitants – by the UN and other international fora – Ankara refuses to comply.