Travelers looking for a vacation on the wrong side of an internationally-recognized “Green Line” needn’t fret now that global rentals agency Airbnb is boycotting properties in Israeli communities in the West Bank — they can use Airbnb’s services in the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” instead.
A Tuesday morning search of Airbnb’s listings for a last-minute Thanksgiving holiday vacation showed the availability of more than 1,000 apartments and villas in Northern Cyprus — a Greek territory invaded and occupied by Turkey in July 1974, in a brutal war inflicted by Ankara on Greek and native Turkish Cypriots alike.
More than 150,000 Greek Cypriots were driven from their homes during ethnic cleansing operations carried out by Turkish forces. Hundreds of Greek women were raped by Turkish soldiers, in what one Greek writer called “one of the darkest and most agonizingly painful aspects” of the 1974 invasion. Following the invasion, Turkey consolidated its hold over 40 percent of the island of Cyprus — but its satellite republic continues to be regarded by the entire international community as “occupied territory.”
For now, though, residents of Northern Cyprus — including thousands of Turkish “settlers” who moved to the island from mainland Turkey after 1974 — can freely advertise their properties on Airbnb.