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Controversial Plans To Reopen Abandoned 'Millionaire's Playground' Resort In Northern Cyprus

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Controversial Plans To Reopen Abandoned 'Millionaire's Playground' Resort In Northern Cyprus

Controversial plans to reopen a part of Northern Cyprus once known as a 'millionaire's playground' look set to go ahead, according to local politicians.

The district of Varosha within the abandoned city of Famagusta used to be a tourist hotspot that played host to celebrities such as Elizabeth Taylor and Sophia Loren, but was closed down and left dormant when Turkey invaded Cyprus in 1974, and 45,000 residents fled.

For the intervening 46 years, the city has lain dormant, useful only as a no-man's-land between the areas controlled by the armies of Greece, Cyprus, and Turkey.

Credit: Nedim Enginsoy/AP/Shutterstock
Credit: Nedim Enginsoy/AP/Shutterstock
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So, in 1983, the Turkish government of the area declared autonomy and founded the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). However, Turkey remains the only country to recognise the state, and the official United Nations line is that it's occupied territory within the Republic of Cyprus.

Despite that, the government - and its Prime Minister - wants to throw open the doors of the city to tourists once more.

Credit: Shutterstock/Authentic travel
Credit: Shutterstock/Authentic travel

Ersin Tatar told state broadcaster TRT: "At this point we are close to the point of starting the reopening process."

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"The tide has changed and a new page has been turned."

He has previously stated that the district of Varosha will 'become Las Vegas again', but there are a few hurdles to be vaulted before that can likely become the case.

You see, there is a UN resolution stating that only former residents of the city can repopulate the area. Oh, and the Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades has said that any attempt to reopen the city under a Turkish regime would be 'completely unacceptable'.

Attempts to stabilise the region have been made for decades now. The UN asked Turkey to hand back Varosha in 1984 to no effect.

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Credit: KATIA CHRISTODOULOU/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Credit: KATIA CHRISTODOULOU/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Then, there's the fact that it'll take more than just a lick of paint to get the city back up and running again.

After all, it's been out of commission to all but Turkish and UN troops for 46 years now.

Credit: Shutterstock/Bibiana Castagna
Credit: Shutterstock/Bibiana Castagna
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The Vice President of Turkey, Fuat Oktay, has previously said: "There is unfortunately an abandoned area here as well as rotting buildings.

"Our hope is that Varosha is revived in a way that will revitalise the economic, trade and social life here."

It could still be a long time before the celebrities and tourists return to Varosha.

Featured Image Credit: KATIA CHRISTODOULOU/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Topics: Greece, World News, Europe, Turkey, Interesting

Tom Wood
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