Northern Cyprus beach resort ‘opens’

This item appears on page 30 of the April 2021 issue.

Turkish soldiers removed barriers at the abandoned Northern Cyprus resort town of Varusha on Oct. 8, 2020, allowing visitors in for the first time in 46 years. The town, once famous for its beaches and luxury hotels, is now mostly ruins. The entire town had been off-limits to visitors since Turkish soldiers invaded the island in 1974 and occupied the area.

The 1974 invasion created two countries: the Turkey-backed Northern Cyprus and the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus, in the south. Varusha was inhabited mostly by Greek Cypriots, who were forced to flee in advance of the Turkish invasion. The Republic of Cyprus claims that the opening of Varusha by Northern Cyprus was illegal, as its status was meant to be determined by bilateral talks.

In November 2018, two land-border crossings, at the towns of Lefke and Dherynia, were opened, the first time people were allowed to cross between the two countries in eight years (Jan. ’19, pg. 4).