North Cyprus Property | IPC Applications Up 30%

An interesting article in Cyprus Mail. It would seem that the applications to the Immovable Property Commission are at an all time high.

IPC applications jump 30 per cent in six months
By Stefanos Evripidou Published on January 23, 2013

“THE NUMBER of Greek Cypriot refugees seeking compensation for occupied properties in the north has increased by almost 30 per cent – nearly 1,000 new applications – in the last six months alone, showing an upward trend that has caught the attention of Cyprus’ Legal Service.

Attorney-general Petros Clerides plans to hold a broad-based meeting after the presidential elections to deal with the increasing number of Greek Cypriot refugees applying to the Immovable Property Commission (IPC) in the north set up by Turkey.

According to the IPC website, as of last Monday, 4,471 applications have been lodged with the Commission, of which 309 have been concluded through friendly settlements and nine through formal hearing.

The IPC has so far paid £100.7m sterling (€120m) to the applicants as compensation for giving up their property rights in the north. It has only ruled for exchange and compensation in two cases, for restitution in one case and for restitution and compensation in five cases.

In one case it has delivered a decision for restitution after the settlement of the Cyprus problem, and in one other case it has ruled for partial restitution.

Just six months ago, on July 12, 2012, the IPC had recorded a total of 3,473 applications, 260 friendly settlements and seven formal hearings. Around £81m Sterling (€102m) had been paid out to applicants in compensation. The 998 new applications since last July represent a 29 per cent increase, a considerable hike for IPC figures if one considers the Commission was set up by Turkey in 2006.

In a letter published by Alithia yesterday, Clerides told the mayor of occupied Famagusta and leader of the municipalities’ union, Alexis Galanos, that the issue of Greek Cypriot properties in the occupied areas was probably the most important aspect of the Cyprus problem.

The AG sent the letter on January 10, in response to a letter seven days earlier from Galanos, requesting a meeting of all stakeholders to discuss possible recourse to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and ways to discourage refugees from applying to the IPC, which they are doing in increasing numbers.

In his response, Clerides agreed with Galanos on the need to do something about the increased number of applications to the IPC and the smaller sums awarded in compensation to Greek Cypriots for giving up rights to their land in the north.

The AG said he would convene a broad-based meeting of all stakeholders after the elections to find ways to handle the unfolding situation.

Clerides noted that after the landmark 2010 ECHR decision in the Demopoulos case, the Strasbourg-based court “effectively overturned” previous case law, making things much harder for Greek Cypriot refugees who since then are forced to go via the IPC to pursue their property rights in the occupied areas.

The Committee of Occupied Local Communities has also asked the government and future president, whoever that may be, to take measures to better the economic situation of refugees and limit their flow to the IPC to “sell their country”.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, committee chairman Andreas Petrou said the deepening economic crisis has seen numbers to the IPC increase.

He called for an immediate review of refugee policy with the input of economists, legal experts and technocrats, and guided by politicians. Failure to do so will result in Greek Cypriots applying en masse to the IPC to sell their properties in the north.

Petrou suggested the government set up a fund to compensate all owners of land in north for loss of use of property on an annual basis. He proposed charging rent to those currently in hold of Turkish Cypriot properties south of the dividing line as a means to provide resources for the fund.perty Commission funded by Turkey has seen a considerable increase in claims from Greek Cypriots.”

It would seem from the comments under this article that people see money now rather than waiting for a settlement as a more viable option. Who can disagree with this view? Maybe at last we can see the aggrieved on both sides of the island getting some sort of closure.  It would be nice to see the Governments on both sides of the border helping the victims of the property scams that are widespread on the island of Cyprus. Maybe then the proerty industry might just see the green shoots of recovery.

O B Joyful

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