It is impossible for the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) to accept a proposal by Greek Cypriots on the return of the town of Maras, TRNC President Ersin Tatar said Thursday.
Speaking at a conference in Turkey's Kayseri province on "The Role of the TRNC in the Blue Homeland," Tatar said that these days, some proposals will be made by the Greek Cypriots regarding confidence-building measures on the island.
"When we look at the proposal, it is said that we should return Maras and that Ercan Airport may be opened to direct flights under the auspices of the United Nations. We cannot accept such a thing," he said.
With the reopening of Maras, which had been closed for 47 years, under TRNC sovereignty, life has begun there, he said.
"Maras has provided great service to both the economy and tourism of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus," he noted.
Tatar went on to say that so far, 400,000 people have visited Maras during the coronavirus pandemic, adding, "Hopefully, there will be much more intense movement after the pandemic."
Maras had virtually become a ghost town as it remained cut off from the world for some 47 years.
A portion of the town -- just about 3.5% of the total area -- was reopened in October 2020, with people welcome to visit between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. daily.
Maras was abandoned after a 1984 UN Security Council resolution saying that only its original inhabitants could resettle in the town.
Entry into the town was forbidden except for Turkish army personnel stationed in the TRNC.
Turkish and TRNC authorities have repeatedly called on Greek Cypriots and other citizens who own assets in Maras to apply to the Immovable Property Commission.
'TURKEY HAS SAY IN CYPRUS'
Tatar also spoke about the history of the Turkish Cypriots, their struggle, and Turkey's support and assistance at the conference.
Noting that Turkey sent troops to the island with the Cyprus Peace Operation on July 20, 1974, upon their call, Tatar said from that date on, there are two parts on the island.
Tatar said the foundations of rights, law, peace and tranquility on the island were laid with the establishment of the TRNC in 1983.
"In this geography, in the Eastern Mediterranean since 1571, Turkey and our nation's national interests and expectations have been fulfilled with this struggle.
"Since then, Turkey has had a say in Cyprus, which is of paramount importance for its security," he added.
Turkish Cypriots continue their lives in peace and tranquility without fear and security courtesy of Turkey, he said.
He emphasized that it is very important to be able to protect the TRNC and Turkey's rights in the Eastern Mediterranean, both strategically and militarily, and to take their share of hydrocarbon reserves.