Europe’s “ghost town”: What Turkey has done to Cyprus

Her writings have appeared in The Washington Times, The American Conservative, The Christian Post, The Jerusalem Post, and Al-Ahram Weekly. In addition to Greek Cypriots, Armenian Cypriots Maronites Cypriots, and others were also forcibly displaced. The ethnic cleansing of the northern area of Cyprus by Turkey has resulted in the displacement of more than 170,000 Greek Cypriots. Nicholas Cathedral, the most majestic structure in Famagusta. As a result of the Turkish airstrikes, dozens of civilians died, including tourists. Varosha, the fenced off section of the Turkish occupied town of Famagusta, is often described as a ?ghost town?. EPA-EFE//KATIA CHRISTODOULOU
Author Helen Starkweather also noted, “In 1570, the Ottoman Turks sent cannonballs ripping through the walls in a siege that lasted for nearly a year. You also need to protect the political will that lays claim to these lands. Turkey is the one to be held accountable for its actions in Cyprus such as the obliteration of the island’s cultural heritage. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Europe’s “ghost town”: What Turkey has done to Cyprus

By Uzay Bulut
A Turkish journalist and political analyst formerly based in Ankara. What followed was ethnic cleansing through forcible displacement. The detainees were tortured or exposed to other types of inhumane treatment, including performing forced labor. There is no need to speculate on this … I call out to our cognates in northern Cyprus, to my Turkish brothers. Many well-documented atrocities were committed by occupation forces during that period. Since 1974, it has been occupied, abused and emptied of its indigenous population by Turkey. If we can put this out fully, I believe that the future in Cyprus will be very different,” Erdogan added,
The opening of the fenced-off area appears part of the “election” politics by Turkey; the Erdogan government aims at firing up local Turkish nationalists during the presidential election held on October 11 in Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus. Greek Cypriot women and children between the ages of 12-71 were raped. A section of Famagusta was fenced off and became only accessible for the Turkish military. EPA-EFE/KATIA CHRISTODOULOU ATTENTION: This Image is part of a PHOTO SET

A view of an abandoned quarter in the Turkish-occupied zone of Famagusta, Cyprus, October 8, 2020.  ‘My body is yours. Professor Van Coufoudakis notes in his 2008 report “Human Rights Violations in Cyprus by Turkey” that “evidence of the gross and continuing violations of human rights by Turkey in Cyprus come from, among others, eyewitness accounts, NGO investigations, various international organizations, the European Commission of Human Rights, the European Court of Human Rights, and reports by international media.”
Since 1974, Turkey has forcibly occupied 36 percent of the sovereign territory and 57 percent of the coastline of the Republic of Cyprus. Weeds and wildflowers press against sandstone walls eroded by rain and earthquakes. The Ottomans took over Cyprus and closed Famagusta to Christians. It has invaded and divided a small, weak but modern and independent European state (since 1 May 2004 the Republic of Cyprus has been a member of the EU); Turkey has also changed the demographic character of the island and has devoted itself to the systematic destruction and obliteration of the cultural heritage of the areas under its military control.”
Famagusta since 1974
Famagusta is a district on the east coast of Cyprus with a long history and deep significance as a cultural heritage place. “In 1570 the Ottoman invasion which took Nicosia, then Famagusta, in hideous and bloody sieges, marked the end of the natural life of the edifice as a place of Christian worship,” according to Michael Walsh, a professor of art and archaeology. Many were arbitrarily detained by the Turkish military authorities and placed in concentration camps. Churches that weren’t converted—as well as other buildings damaged by the siege—were left to ruin. A minaret was placed above the gothic buttresses of the former Cathedral of St.  The skin was afterwards stuffed with straw, sown back into a macabre effigy of the dead commander, and paraded in mockery before the jeering Muslims.”
The Ottoman Turks converted many historic churches into mosques, such as St. EPA-EFE//KATIA CHRISTODOULOU

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Europeans may be unaware, but Europe includes a “ghost town”. Her work focuses mainly on human rights, Turkish politics and history, religious minorities in the Middle East, and antisemitism. They built fountains throughout the city to modernize the water supply, and they converted most of the churches to mosques. It is because they were terrorized by Turkish troops and fled for their lives. Agencies such as UNESCO are unable to send either funds or conservationists due to the economic and social embargo the international community imposed on northern Cyprus after it was forcibly annexed by Turkey in 1974.”
Turkey has designed two main excuses for invading the island. Nicholas Cathedral is still used as a mosque in Turkish-occupied Famagusta and is now named “Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque” after the commander of the 1570 Ottoman invasion. You have to lay claim to these lands. Nicholas, where Jerusalem’s kings had once been coronated. Civilians, including children between six months and eleven years, were murdered. The 1974 Turkish invasion  
In 1878, Britain assumed the administration of Cyprus and annexed it following Turkey’s defeat in the First World War. However, anyone who is clueless about the history of Cyprus and who listens to Erdogan would be misled to think that the opening of this “coast” is a positive development and that even Turkey’s 1974 invasion of Cyprus was a good incident. By the 19th century, only a handful of residents remained, most living in shacks attached to deteriorating churches. Houses and business premises of those who had to leave were looted, seized, and appropriated. Nicholas Church — by now a mosque — and tied to a column, where he was slowly flayed alive.  He ordered the nose and ears of Marco Antonio Bragadin, the fort commander, hacked off. In 1983, the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” (“TRNC”) was established with a unilateral declaration. Cyprus declared its independence from British rule in 1960. As a result, it was the Christian population who was dissolved by Turkey. Fourteen years later, however, Turkey, violated the treaty and invaded Cyprus twice: on July 20 and on August 18, 1974. The Turkish-speaking Cypriot minority was scattered all across the island. Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. In an article entitled “The Battle of Lepanto: When Turks Skinned Christians Alive for Refusing Islam,” historian Raymond Ibrahim describes how “Muslim Turks — in the guise of the Ottoman Empire — invaded the island of Cyprus in 1570 and captured Famagusta.”
“After promising the defenders safe passage if they surrendered, Ottoman commander Ali Pasha — known as Müezzinzade (‘son of a muezzin’) due to his pious background — had reneged and launched a wholesale slaughter. Outnumbered and starving, the Venetians surrendered in 1571. The 1570 Ottoman Invasion
The Turkish presence in Cyprus dates back to the 16th century. The current status of Famagusta is the same as the rest of the occupied area. Hence, there was no actual need for Turkey to intervene. The reopening of Varosha was condemned by Cyprus?s internationally recognized government. The Treaty of Guarantee said that it “recognized and guaranteed the independence, territorial integrity and security of the Republic of Cyprus.” It was signed by Britain, Greece, Turkey and Cyprus. No candidate won a majority of the votes in the first round and a second round will be held on October 18. Ali then invited the mutilated infidel to Islam and life: ‘I am a Christian and thus I want to live and die,’ Bragadin responded. UN Security Council resolution 550 (1984) considers any attempts to settle any part of Varosha by people other than its inhabitants as inadmissible and calls for the transfer of this area to the administration of the UN. People walk on the beach near a Turkish military guard post in front of deserted hotels in occupied Famagusta. A second excuse was that Turkey “aimed at protecting Turkish Cypriots” from Greek Cypriot violence. Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. This declaration was condemned by the international community, and to this day, Turkey remains the only country that has recognized the entity. EPA//KATIA CHRISTODOULOU
In a 2009 article at Smithsonian Magazine, author Helen Starkweather warned the world about the situation of Famagusta, calling it an “endangered site.”
“‘All ships and all wares,’ a 14th-century German traveler wrote, ‘must come first to Famagusta.’ The port city on the northeastern coast of Cyprus was once on a bustling shipping lane, carrying merchants from Europe and the Near East and armies of Christian knights and Ottoman Turks. And those who fled are still not allowed to return. Its disused shops, hotels and homes have remained untouched since 1974 and it has been given the label of “a ghost town”. Famagusta is often described as a ‘ghost town’ after its Greek population was forced to flee Turkey’s invading armed forces. Some 200 buildings—reflecting Byzantine, French Gothic and Italian Renaissance architectural styles—are in a state of disrepair. A 2012 report entitled “The Loss of a Civilization: Destruction of cultural heritage in occupied Cyprus” documents the devastation by Turkish forces of monasteries, churches, Christian and Jewish cemeteries, among other religious and cultural artifacts. In 1984, the Turkish military completed surrounding the empty and looted part of Famagusta. “Now ancient Famagusta, tucked into a modern city of 35,000 people, also called Famagusta, is largely forgotten, except, perhaps, as the setting for Shakespeare’s Othello. According to the report,
“Turkey has been committing two major international crimes against Cyprus.  Torture it as you will’,” Ibrahim wrote, adding, “So he was tied to a chair, repeatedly hoisted up the mast of a galley, and dropped into the sea, to taunts: ‘Look if you can see your fleet, great Christian, if you can see succor coming to Famagusta!’  The mutilated and half-drowned man was then carried near to St. The coup collapsed a few days later and democratic rule in Cyprus was re-established. But what have Turks really done to Cyprus? A deserted Greek Orthodox Church inside the Turkish-occupied coastal city of Famagusta in the north of Cyprus. UN Security Council resolution 550 (1984) considers any attempts to settle any part of Famagusta by people other than its inhabitants as inadmissible and calls for the transfer of this area to the administration of the UN. Like the Ottoman occupation in 1570, the 1974 Turkish invasion was bloody and brutal. Famagusta?s quarter Varosha, was partially opened to civilians after being sealed off for years. He also said that “the Turkish special warfare department has a rule to engage in acts of sabotage against the respected values [of the Turks] made to look as if they ‎were carried out by the enemy.”
Today Turkey still shockingly calls the atrocities it committed in 1974 “a peace operation.”
No matter what the Turkish government claims, the photos and documents concerning Famagusta and the rest of the occupied area in Cyprus tell their own story: People fled from the invading Turkish army that killed, tortured and raped. All of Varosha?s 39,000 residents fled the advancing Turkish army during an invasion in 1974. The “TRNC” does not exist as a state but rather a de-facto administration of the Turkish occupation. Fenced off 46 years ago when Greek Cypriots were forced to flee invading Turkish forces, a part of the Cypriot district of Famagusta has remained a “ghost town.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently declared that “the two main streets and the coast in the Maras region [Famagusta in Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus], which have been closed since the 1974 peace operation, have recently been opened to the use of the Cypriot people.”
“The closed Maras region belongs to the Turkish Cypriots; it should be known this way. The first one is the coup engineered by the Greek military, which toppled the democratically-elected Cypriot president, Archbishop Makarios III. This land is yours. During the second phase of the Turkish invasion, on August 14, 1974, Famagusta was bombed by the Turkish air force. But even Turkish officials have confessed that the violence was mostly committed by Turks to pave the way for a military invasion. UN Security Council resolution 789 (1992) also urges that with a view to the implementation of resolution 550 (1984), the area at present under the control of the United Nations Peace-keeping Force in Cyprus be extended to include Varosha. The atrocities of Turkey in 1974 drove out the Greek Cypriots from the northern area, turning it into a Turkish colony. St. epa08729413 A view on a newly-opened street of abandoned quarter of Varosha in Famagusta, Cyprus, 08 October 2020. Famagusta rose to prominence between the 12th and 15th centuries, most notably as the city where the Crusader kings of Jerusalem were crowned. In 1878, when the British occupied Cyprus, Scottish photographer John Thomson called Famagusta ‘a city of the dead.’”
Despite successive invasions and occupations throughout the centuries, including the Ottoman occupation from 1571 until 1878, the population of Cyprus remained predominantly Greek throughout the country. General Sabri Yirmibesoglu, a Turkish army officer, for example, said in 2010 that Turkey had burned a ‎mosque during the Cyprus conflict “in order to foster civil resistance” against Greek Cypriots. Most of Famagusta is under Turkish military occupation and under the control of Turkey – not because the Greek locals got bored and “abandoned” the town.