8500 Turkish Cypriot properties to be given away in south?

Cypriot ambassador's residence

Cypriot ambassador's residence

It was only a few short sentences in Cyprus Mail’s “Cyprus in brief October 10” but what was said was mind blowing! The title was ‘all refugees will get title deeds’ and apparently went on to tell how Greek Cypriots who were forced to leave the north in 1974 would be given title deeds to Turkish Cypriot property. It also clearly said that “all” of them will be given these deeds.

Now, call me cynical, but I thought there were talks going on at the moment and that property was an issue being discussed and that the Greek Cypriot stance was that EU law supported the rights of all Cypriots displaced from their properties in 1974. I also thought that the Oram’s case was based on the north having broken this EU law and yet the Cyprus Mail seemed to be saying that the Greek Cypriots actually did not believe there was any such requirement to protect a Cypriot’s property from being transferred by a third party without the consent of the original owner.

There is a little bit in the paper saying, “the minister didn’t exclude the possibility of expropriating the land by securing the consent of the Turkish Cypriot owners.” Well I guess not, and he also didn’t specifically exclude doing it without there consent. This new move by the government removes several of their arguments used to criticise the north’s actions regarding property although Greek Cypriots will always use the, “we’re the recognised government of Cyprus, and you’re not, and so anything we do is legal and what you do isn’t,” argument but I’m not sure the EU will agree in this case.

Silikiotis is alleged to have specifically said that, “in mid 2010, procedures will start to offer 2,500 plots to refugees living in Turkish Cypriot properties,” and that the “aim is to provide refugees living in houses or estates built on Turkish Cypriot land with 8,500 title deeds.” This date seems to tie in with  Turkey’s chief EU negotiator Egemen Bagiş’ statement that the Cyprus Talks will be finished by February 2010. However, in the light of Greek Cypriot Interior Minister Neoklis Silikiotis’ intended actions it looks as if the result is expected to be a resounding rejection of a settlement.

Cyprus in brief October 10
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