Locked in Time: Resolving the Enigma of Kapalı Maraş in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus

12/16/20232 min read

Kapalı Maraş, also known as Varosha, is a city situated in the northern part of Cyprus. Since its closure in 1974, the place has been a subject of dispute and geopolitical tension. The closure of Kapalı Maraş stems from deep historical roots, primarily related to the Cyprus dispute and the island's division into two parts namely; Republic of Cyprus in the south and Turkish Republic Of Northern Cyprus in the north.

Historical Background

The Cyprus conflict can be tracked down to the mid-20th century when the island became independent from British rule in 1960. Eventually, the complicated matter of power-sharing between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots led to intercommunal violence. In 1974, after a coup by Greek nationalists demanding Enosis (union with Greece), Turkey sent troops to protect the Turkish Cypriot community.

Closure of Kapalı Maraş happened during this chaotic phase. Thousands of Greek Cypriot residents were displaced and the city was frozen in time after Turkey's military intervention which sealed off that place. The reasons for the termination were multifaceted, consisting of tactical military considerations and political motivations.

Security and Strategic Concerns

One of the major reasons for Kapalı Maraş's closure was its important location. The city, located along the shoreline, was believed to be essential for military reasons. Closing the city allowed the Turkish military to safeguard a buffer zone and thwart possible threats from the south.

Negotiations and Diplomacy

So many attempts have been made over the years to find a resolution for the Cyprus conflict and determine Kapalı Maraş's status. Negotiations led by the United Nations have been taking place in an attempt to reunify the island and determine the fate of a closed city. Nonetheless, it has been difficult to reach an agreement between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities as well as their respective governments.

One of the most significant efforts to reunify Cyprus and reclaim Örenbaşı was made by The Annan Plan, which was proposed in 2004. Nevertheless, the Greek Cypriot community rejected the plan in a referendum, adding to the predicament.

Geopolitical Dimensions

The closure of Kapalı Maraş has also been a matter of dispute in the wider geopolitical context. The Cyprus issue has different views from the international community, with varying opinions among major powers and neighboring states.

The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, recognized only by Turkey, regards the shutdown of Kapali Maras as a matter concerning national security and has maintained its promise to find a comprehensive solution through discussions. On the contrary, The Republic of Cyprus that is acknowledged internationally insists on restoring Nicosia to its pre-1974 status and bringing back displaced Greek Cypriots.

The closure of Kapalı Maraş in Northern Cyprus is still a complicated and unsettled matter, entangled with the wider Conflict of Cyprus. Even though different ways of finding a solution through negotiation and diplomacy have been tried, it is hard to reach an all-inclusive agreement. The future of Kapalı Maraş still mirrors the profound historical and geopolitical implications surrounding Cyprus's island.