Sarbanes, Hellenic Caucus Call on UN Secretary-General Guterres to Respond to Turkey’s Actions in Varosha

Today, Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.), along with a bipartisan group of 18 lawmakers, asked United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres to respond to Turkey’s illegal maneuvers in Varosha, Famagusta.

“We urge you to firmly assert the United Nations’ authority to administer and prevent the resettlement of Varosha, pursue the immediate and full implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolutions on Varosha, and examine sanctions against Turkish and Turkish Cypriot attempts to illegally and unilaterally reopen and resettle this city,” the lawmakers wrote to Secretary-General Guterres.

The lawmakers continued: “During October 2020, Turkish authorities made known their intention to unilaterally reopen Varosha, the fenced off area of Famagusta within Turkish-occupied Cyprus. On October 6, 2020, you emphasized in a statement that ‘the position of the United Nations on Varosha remains unchanged and is guided by relevant Security Council resolutions’ and stressed the ‘need to avoid any unilateral actions that could trigger tensions on the island and undermine the return to dialogue or the future success of talks.’ Since your statement, Turkey’s unilateral reopening has not abated, and on July 19-20, 2021 President Erdogan declared part of Varosha to be reopened and administered by the illegitimate Turkish administration on Cyprus.”

The lawmakers concluded: “As members of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues, we are dismayed but not surprised by President Erdogan’s irresponsible comments rejecting any solution that does not acquiesce to Turkey’s demands to divide Cyprus and her people. We encourage all relevant stakeholders to pursue a solution in line with the various resolutions of the Security Council, but the Republic of Turkey’s consistent provocative behavior demonstrates it is not serious about being a responsible actor in this matter. The recent comments by President Erdogan and Turkey’s continuing occupation and militarization of Cyprus’ territory shows Turkey is unwilling to invest in a solution that respects the rights of the Cypriot people and endangers the peace, security, and stability of the Eastern Mediterranean.”