In a resolution adopted by a majority vote, members of the European Parliament on Thursday condemned Turkey’s illegal activities in the Varosha in Famagusta, in the occupied part of Cyprus, and warned that its partial reopening “weakens prospects of a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem, exacerbating divisions and entrenching the permanent partition of the island.”

In the resolution, MEPs call on Turkey “to transfer Varosha to its lawful inhabitants under the temporary administration of the

UN (in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 550/1984) and to refrain from any actions that alter the demographic balance on the island through a policy of illegal settlement.”

The Eurodeputies stressed that a sustainable solution to reunify the island of Cyprus and its people can only be found through dialogue, diplomacy, and negotiations.

They also called on the European Council to “maintain its unified position on Turkey’s illegal actions and impose tough sanctions in response.”

Greek Foreign Affairs Minister Nikos Dendias congratulated Evangelos Meimarakis, who heads the New Democracy MEPs in the European People’s Party (EPP) group, for initiating with fellow Cypriot EPP members an amendment to the above resolution, which called on the EU to impose immediate measures against Turkey for the illegal reopening of Varosha.

On Twitter, Meimarakis wrote: “For the first time, and by wide majority, the European Parliament has approved the imposition of strict sanctions on Turkey, adopting the amendment tabled by Greece’s and Cyprus’ EPP representatives, at the initiative of MEPs Vangelis Meimarakis, Lefteris Christoforou and Loukas Fourlas.”