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The House of Commons is debating a Backbench Business motion on Famagusta on 16 November 2015. It calls for the Cypriot city of Famagusta to be returned by Turkey to its ‘lawful inhabitants’.

After the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, Famagusta became part of the ‘Turkish Republic of North Cyprus’ (TRNC). The TRNC operates a large free port and zone at Famagusta, although the Republic of Cyprus has declared this closed. A section of Famagusta called Varosha has remained closed off by the Turkish military since 1974, becoming a ghost town.

Famagusta is often seen as one of the keys to a permanent settlement for Cyprus and to unblocking Turkey’s stalled EU accession process.

UN-sponsored negotiations for a permanent settlement for Cyprus restarted in 2015 following the election of a new leader in the TRNC. Problematic issues still include power-sharing, security, residence and citizenship, and property. The talks have carried on in fits and starts since the Greek Cypriots rejected the Annan plan for a permanent settlement in a 2004 referendum.


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