Turkish ambitions resurrect in a Cyprus ghost town

NICOSIA – With Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders set to meet in the coming days for UN-sponsored “informal” talks on their island’s future, a highly unusual asset will be high on the agenda: Europe’s largest ghost town.

The fenced-off and abandoned Famagusta suburb of Varosha – once one of the most popular beach resorts in the Mediterranean – is now central to negotiations on Cyprus’ political future.

Where those negotiations go, however, has been thrown into doubt by recent moves by the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot leaderships.

They are now set to reopen the crumbling and decaying resort – despite a brace of UN resolutions saying they cannot – and outrage from Greek Cypriots and their European and United States allies.

This move comes, too, after last October’s election of Ersin Tatar, a close ally of Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as leader of the Turkish Cypriots.