Esdeger Title Deeds – exchanged for what?

monopolyTRNC title deeds can apparently be categorized as either Exchange (Esdeger) or points based (TMD). According to many estate agents in the north, Esedger Title (exchange title) is land originally owned by a Greek Cypriot prior to 1974, with title deeds issued by the north Cyprus government post 1974 to a Turkish Cypriot refugee from the south on a points basis in compensation for land left in the south. It is widely known as exchange land – as the Turkish Cypriot refugee had effectively swapped his land left in the south for equivalent value land a Greek Cypriot abandoned in north Cyprus. Under the Annan Plan there is almost complete protection for an owner of Esedger/exchange Title.

An individual who owns or purchases exchange land now is considered to be in exactly the same position as the original Turkish Cypriot refugee who swapped his land post-1974, the Annan Plan expressly acknowledges there can be legitimate dealings in such title. [1]

If this were true then as an Annan type settlement is being currently worked out between the Presidents of north and south Cyprus then, should this be agreed and successfully voted on by, say June 2010, then those with such deeds could be in a situation where they will not have to worry about the result of the Orams Case. But until then, what if the Orams lose their case and the worse-case scenario ensues?

One avenue which never seems to have been discussed is that of the title deeds the Orams hold, assuming they are Esdeger. What follows is just speculation, and I’m sure that many of you will tell me why none of it makes sense, but bear with me for a while. The TC who sold them the property would, under international law, still own land in the south. Even though they had “exchanged” it for GC land in the north this exchange would not have affected the land registry entry in south Nicosia which would still record them as the legal owner. Now, for the life of me, I cannot see what stops the TC from now transferring this land directly to the Orams as a minimal form of compensation for their loss. It should make no difference to them, unless of course they wanted keep their cake and to eat it too.

Now, if this property in the south turned out to be contentious, or the GC government were to stall over the transfer, that would be unfortunate but I’m sure that Mr Apostilides would be only too happy to wait for his compensation until the sale of that land were to go through. Furthermore, what if you the reader already had title deeds for property you no longer wanted in the north? Or perhaps there was a problem with finishing that property? Perhaps you too would like the original TC title deeds so you can become owners of property in the south instead of the property you currently own in the north, or perhaps were struggling to own. I look around me and see lots of stalled properties where builders have gone bankrupt. I wonder how many buyers would happy just to walk away with the TC property in the south that was exchanged for their living nightmare?

That’s what exchange means isn’t it?

[1] North Cyprus Property Buyers

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