Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akıncı, who is running against Prime Minister Ersin Tatar in the upcoming elections, has said that he was not previously informed about the government’s decision to open Varosha beach. Akıncı strongly criticized the announcement delivered from the Turkish capital Ankara, calling it a “shame for our democracy” and “interference in our elections.”
Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akıncı has said that he was not previously informed about the government’s decision to open Varosha (“Maraş” in Turkish) beach, considering the move as Ankara’s “interference” in Turkish Cypriot elections set to be held on Oct. 11.
“What has been done is a disgrace to our democracy and is a continuation of a direct interference in the elections,” Akıncı told SİM TV on Oct. 8.
The Turkish Cypriot government collapsed following Prime Minister Ersin Tatar’s announcement that he would be reopening the former holiday paradise turned ghost-town with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s blessing.
Tatar made the announcement in the Turkish capital Ankara on Oct. 6 alongside Erdoğan, who said he backed the decision on Varosha, sealed off within barbed wire for decades.
Akıncı strongly criticized the announcement from Ankara saying that the Turkish authorities had been “for months now conducting a systematic and an organized work for him not to be elected.”
Akıncı is running against Tatar in the upcoming elections, with the two figures displaying very different visions of the northern half of the divided island. Ankara is known to have thrown its support behind Tatar.
“It is very clear that the move with regards to Varosha has been done to earn a point for a candidate [Tatar],” Akıncı said. “A scenario has been written and Mr. Tatar was left with playing the part of a figurant.”
The move to open Varosha beach could hurt efforts to revive settlement talks on the island and stoke Turkey’s row with EU members Cyprus and Greece over east Mediterranean maritime rights, which cooled after Ankara and Athens agreed to resume talks.