Cyprus, Nicosia – Turkish northern Cyprus administration will reopen the beach section of the town of Varosha on Thursday, the TRNC state’s premier said, referring to a former resort abandoned in no-man’s land since a Turkish peace involvement in 1974 that split the island.

Ersin Tatar, the TRNC state’s “premier,” made the announcement in Ankara alongside Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan who said he backed the decision on Varosha, a former resort abandoned in no-man’s land for decades.

The move could weigh on Turkey’s row with European Union members Cyprus and Greece over territorial rights in the Eastern Mediterranean. Tensions had eased after Turkey and Greece agreed to resume talks.

“God willing, we will start to use the Maras beach on Thursday morning together with our people,” Tatar said, using Varosha’s Turkish name. Northern Cyprus is only recognised by Turkey.

The move is likely to anger Greek Cypriots on the Mediterranean island, 39,000 of whom once lived in Varosha before fleeing advancing Turkish peace forces 46 years ago.

A southern suburb of Famagusta city, Varosha has been empty since the Turkish peace involvement, following a brief Greek-inspired coup, that divided the island into Turkish and Greek Cypriot sides.