By KEREM HASAN
FRINGED by apparently endless golden beaches and luxury hotels which once attracted Hollywood stars, the Gazimağusa suburb of Maraş (Varosha) has once again become a source of attention – and contention -- nearly 45 years after it was frozen in time following the 1974 Turkish military intervention.
Last week's government announcement that it will conduct an “inventory” of the 2.3-square-mile fenced, military-controlled district on Gazimağusa's southern edge, with a view to its “staged” opening, caused a stir on both sides of the island's divide as politicians, diplomats and commentators weighed up the legal and political implications.
Reactions were mixed. For former negotiator and Beşparmak think-tank group member Osman Ertuğ, it “was a mistake to keep the fenced-off section of this once fabled resort town closed from the very beginning”.
“In addition to the economic losses it entailed, it also gave the Greek Cypriot side and their international supporters the opportunity to generate political propaganda against the Turkish Cypriot side and Turkey using depictions such as 'the ghost town',” he told Cyprus Today.
“As early as 1975, the then Turkish Federated State of Cyprus had issued a 'note verbale' calling on all third-party nationals, private and corporate bodies, to return to take up their businesses in the town abandoned after the events of 1974. Fearing litigation by the Greek Cypriot side, none did!
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