A shortened version of the events: on Monday, April 24, 2017 I entered Varosha ghost town (right next to Famagusta, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus) together with another person near Levent Sk. The fence was almost opened, my acquaintance only had to “work on it” just a bit. We only entered two completely abandoned buildings about 20-25 meters from the fence, took a few pictures and made a few video clips.
We got out after about 10-15 minutes. People from the garages saw us coming out. We went to my acquaintance’s car, chatted. The police in civilian clothes, but with a marked car intercepted us. We were taken to the Famagusta (Gazumagusa) police station: we were questioned around 4 hours by the normal, traffic, special, military and political police. We were subsequently incarcerated, spent the night in a cell.
On Tuesday, May 25 an English translator and policeman told us the charges: entering a first category military zone, taking pictures and videos. We asked to have a lawyer, they called one.
We were taken to Nicosia (Turkish side) and brought in front of a judge. The bailout was 2000 TL, around 500 euros. We paid, and set free. The military court was in session only more than a week later, on May 4. The military court in Nicosia set a fine of 3000 TL, around 750 euros. We paid. The lawyer’s (young and connected) fee was 1500 TL, around 400 euros for both of us, that is 200 euros/person.
With the help of our lawyer we did the necessary paperwork, drove to Famagusta, got our travel documents, made sure that the ban on us leaving the country was lifted and all checkpoints were notified. Our lawyer kindly arranged a taxi for us for 50 euros from Famagusta to Larnaca International Airport (Greek side). With the paper from the court and our travel documents we raced out of North Cyprus, got on our planes only a few hours later.
This is a country only recognized by Turkey, so one cannot ask for any consular or other help!!! It’s a de facto existing, but the jure non-existing country! The military has formidable power and influence!
Only those can truly and fully appreciate freedom who spent at lease one night in jail… 🙂
So, look from outside, but – my advice – DON’T ENTER VAROSHA GHOST TOWN!!! Unless you want to go through the adventure and adrenalin described above. Or… you’re rich… 🙂 But beware: they might put you in jail!