Let Famagusta open its doors to the world, let the peace process in Cyprus begin right now…
Concerning the long period of deadlock in Cyprus problem, a Peace Project must begin from Famagusta. Without waiting for tomorrow; right now.
The 50 year old negotiations held by the leaders of both communities, either through mediators or without them, and without participation of their communities to the process, have not reached a conclusion. Even though the possibility of a step-by-step solution alternatives which would help to restore the lost sense of trust could be envisaged, the official view insists on a comprehensive solution. However, this insistence does not contribute to anything other than wider fall apart and deepening mistrust between the two communities as the both sides politicians also complain about.
Whilst it is obvious that a process without communication and cooperation where the communities and people are excluded, has a little chance to produce remedy to the problem, Famagusta district has a serious potential in the economic, social, cultural and power sharing spheres which can enhance cooperation and reconciliation.
Willingness of people living both in the north and south of Famagusta area and of Varosha refugees to reach a settlement have always been more intense compared to other areas of the Island. Apart from the 2004 referendum results indicating this point, Famagusta origined Turkish and Greek Cypriots have managed to sustain their relationships successfully despite all obstacles during the past several years.
We know that before 1974, the Port and the sealed off section of Varosha harboured more than 50 % of the tourism and port activities taking place in our country. However, after 74’, the unique potential of Famagusta’s three comparative advantages – the coasts available for Tourism, Medieval town in the walled city and the Port – has been put on an idle position under the banner of “the strongest bargaining chip” and with the excuse of a “comprehensive solution” causing a sacrifice of the whole region.
Just for these reasons, opening up Varosha to it legal owners under the UN administration and the Famagusta port to international trade under the supervision of EU by eliminating its illegal status in addition to demilitarization of the district and reunification of the divided city of Famagusta will pave the way for a mutual dialogue, economic, social and cultural cooperation. This cooperation will play a catalyst role for the solution to Cyprus problem. It promises a bundle of opportunities for opening new horizons in front of us and for refreshing hopes for all Cypriots and Famagustans towards a solution through its essential dynamics.
Both discourses of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaderships such as “do us a favour by returning Varosha” or “Varosha is part of a comprehensive solution” are insufficient and weak in our opinion. Varosha needs to be conceived as a pilot project where a plenty of practices to be cofounding a federal structure should be realized through active participation of both communities.
United we stand hand in hand, heart by heart, song by song and shout all together: “Peace in Famagusta, Peace in Cyprus, Peace in the World!”.