Ankara is planning to open the abandoned town of Varosha on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday.

"Yes there are preparations. Varosha will be opened," Cavusoglu told the private CNN-Turk broadcaster.

Varosha was fenced off by the Turkish military in 1974 when they invaded the north of the island in response to an Athens-engineered coup attempting to unite Cyprus with Greece.

The eastern town, part of Famagusta that used to be known as the "pearl" of Cyprus, has been abandoned for more than four decades.

The self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was unilaterally declared in 1983 in a move recognised only by Ankara.

Varosha residents were forced to flee south and the town remains occupied by Turkish troops to this day.afp