A group of Turkish journalists Thursday visited Varosha (Maraş), a former tourist resort in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) that has been closed to visitors since 1974.
The visit was organized by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and the Foreign Ministry of the TRNC.
Special guides accompanied the Turkish journalists during the excursion through the ghost town, where entry is forbidden, with the exception of Turkish army personnel.
Turkey's Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül also made a trip to Varosha on Thursday.
Turkish journalists visit Northern Cyprus' "ghost town" Varosha (Maraş) as government eyes reopening the city that has been closed to visitors since 1974 https://t.co/y4PDlAa6dk pic.twitter.com/8zBawXBRw8— DAILY SABAH (@DailySabah) August 29, 2019
The TRNC government on June 18 announced its decision to conduct ownership inventory work in Varosha as it plans to reopen the once-bustling tourist destination for settlement in the near future.
Turkey's Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Ersoy, who visited Varosha last week, said Ankara was ready to provide the necessary technical and financial support.
Varosha was a famous resort region in Cyprus which boasted a capacity of 10,000 beds across more than 100 hotels, however it has been closed since 1974. That same year, Turkish military forces intervened in the island following a Greek-inspired coup. The coup followed decade-long inter-ethnic violence and terrorism targeting Turkish Cypriots, who were forced to live in enclaves when Greek Cypriots unilaterally changed the constitution in 1963 and stripped the island's Turks of their political rights.
The city is protected by a 1984 U.N. Security Council resolution, stating that the empty town can only be resettled by its original inhabitants.