Tatar said, "The Greek Cypriot Administration has used every means and method to prevent this opening, and it threatens and spreads fear in its own citizens who will apply to the Immovable Property Commission. In addition to this, the crossings of third country citizens from the South to the TRNC is prevented for various reasons. What is against human rights is this attitude of the Greek Cypriot Administration”.
President Ersin Tatar made the following statement regarding the opening of closed Maraş and the attitude of the Greek Cypriot Administration and EU:
“While the Greek Cypriot Administration has been responding negatively to the calls for dialogue and reconciliation which we have made since past times, it continues its outdated domination mentality and its attempts to possess the whole of Cyprus. Of course, it is not possible for us to remain as spectators. While the Greek Cypriot Administration aims to make our people a minority with a solution based on a federal basis, its other goal is the abolishment of Turkey's guarantorship and withdrawal of Turkish troops from Cyprus. The negotiation processes on the Cyprus issue, which started in 1968, failed due to the negative attitude of the Greek Cypriot side, especially the Annan Plan referendum and the events in Crans Montana, this has shown once again that a solution based on a federal basis is not possible. As a result of these issues, a solution based on the existence of two sovereign equal states that benefit Cyprus and the region was brought to the agenda by us and put on the negotiation table in Geneva. It will never be possible for us to take a step back from this solution proposal.
In the meantime, a great opening was started in 2020 on the subject of closed Maraş, which has been left to deteriorate for 47 years, and some public areas and a part of the sea coast were opened to the use of the public, taking into account international law. While the echoes of this opening continue, as I explained on the 47th anniversary of the 20th July 1974 Peace Operation, we have entered the second phase of the closed Maraş opening.
According to this, our decision to open the closed Maraş, which is a part of the TRNC, is an extremely important development that will enable the return of former residents and beneficiaries who have not been able to go to their properties for many years. Our aim is to eliminate grievances. This expansion will be carried out through the Immovable Property Commission. In this framework, the military zone status of the region, which corresponds to 3½% of the closed Maraş, was abolished. With this step, the Immovable Property Commission will be given the opportunity to make a decision in this direction for the beneficiaries who apply for the return request. While this opening was brought to the agenda in accordance with international law and human rights, the Greek Cypriot Administration, which received strength and encouragement from the EU and some other countries, has used every means and method to prevent this opening. Our solution proposal based on the existence of two sovereign equal states supported by Turkey is at the negotiating table. The opening of closed Maraş will also continue. There will never be a turning back.”
First Friday prayer held in Bilal Ağa mosque in closed Maraş after 47 years
The first Friday prayer was held in Bilal Ağa Masjid, which is located in the closed Maraş region and was reopened for worship on 20th July, after 47 years.
Bilal Ağa Masjid, which has been closed since the 1974 Cyprus Peace Operation, opened on 20th July with the online participation of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for the first Friday prayer to be held, after the restoration.