Greece’s foreign ministry condemned Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s announcement yesterday that he would reopen part of Varosha. The tourist resort suburb of Famagusta has remained shut down since 1974 when its Greek residents were forced to flee as a result of the Turkish invasion of the island.

The foreign ministry said in a statement, reported by the Athens Macedonian News Agency (AMNA) that Mr Erdogan’s announcement – made on the 47th anniversary of the invasion – was a violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions.

“Greece condemns in the strongest way possible today’s announcement by the Turkish side on the declassification of part of the fenced-off area of Varosha.”

The ministry drew attention to UN Security Council resolutions 550 (1984), 789 (1992), and 1251 (1999) and on conclusions by the European Council “that call on Turkey to avoid unilateral and provocative actions that destabilise the region.”

It reiterated its position that: “Greece, in full coordination with the Cyprus Republic, remains committed to the resolution of the Cyprus issue on the basis of a bizonal, bicommunal federation, as relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council define and in agreement with the principles of the European Union – principles that we call on Turkey, a candidate for EU accession, to respect.”

Mr Erdogan has called for a two-state solution for the island nation.

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Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias expressed Greece’s solidarity with the people and government of Cyprus in a telephone call to his Cypriot counterpart Nikos Christodoulides.

Mr Dendias also informed US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland of the the Turkish president’s announcements on Verosha.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in a Facebook post on the anniversary of the invasion called for a fair solution for a united Cyprus free of occupation forces.

“Time goes by but nobody forgets. 47 years from the Turkish invasion of Cyprus and our message for a fair solution with the island united and without occupation troops remains strong, real and totally active,” Mr Mitsotakis said.

“Today we remember and fight by honouring the heroes that defended the integrity and independence of Cyprus.

“It is time for Turkey to abandon the deadlock of threats against Cyprus and the Turkish-Cypriots. Αfter all, they are threats against the international legality and stability in the region, against the EU and the values of the 21st century and that’s why they will not be tolerated”, the Greek prime minister said.