LEFKOSA, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus 

The premier of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) announced Saturday that work on the reopening of Maras will gain momentum after the coronavirus pandemic is finished.

Ersin Tatar said in a statement there is a pause on the reopening of the abandoned town in the northern part of the divided island of Cyprus because of the deadly outbreak.

Maras is currently a ghost town where entry is forbidden, except for Turkish army personnel stationed in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).

Abandoned after passage of a 1984 UN Security Council resolution, Maras’s reopening was announced June 18 by Turkish Cypriot authorities.

Tatar said the presence of relations with Turkey based on mutual love and respect and taking joint action is vital for TRNC.

“It is of course possible for the TRNC to progress in the Eastern Mediterranean like Singapore and become a center of attraction,” said Tatar, referring to Turkey’s Vice President Fuat Oktay’s comment Friday on Maras and Cyprus.

Tatar noted TRNC will establish a commission of experts and bureaucrats in the prime ministry to support the process as TRNC’s foreign ministry’s works are going on at the same time.

*Writing by Burak Dag in Ankara

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