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North Cyprus reopens contentious ghost town with Turkish support

Days before Northern Cyprus holds elections, Ankara backed the reopening of a ghost town in the island’s green zone in a polarizing move that could influence voter turnout.
Journalists film as they walk past abandoned buildings along a street in Varosha, in the fenced off area of Famagusta, in the Turkish-occupied north of the divided eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus. - Turkish troops partially reopened the Cyprus seaside resort of Varosha, sealed off since its Greek Cypriot inhabitants fled in 1974, sparking controversy days before a Turkish Cypriot election. (Photo by Birol BEBEK / AFP) (Photo by BIROL BEBEK/AFP via Getty Images)

ISTANBUL — Cypriots wandered freely amid ruined hotels and derelict homes Oct. 8 in the abandoned resort of Varosha, also known as Maras, for the first time since the area was sealed off 46 years ago.

Wedged in the island’s prohibited green zone following a 1974 Turkish military incursion that split Cyprus among mostly Greek and Turkish ethnic lines, Varosha has been the subject of reunification talks and property disputes ever since.

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