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Ex-pat property purchasers suffer as TRNC Constitution ignored by government

I usually ignore Turkish Cypriots who tell me that I am a guest in North Cyprus and should not “whinge” about injustices. They seem not to like my pointing out the failings I encounter here and sometimes tell me, as an immigrant, to “go back home.” What I’m attempting to do in this article is to point out that what I am criticising is not that the way they do it here is wrong because it is not like we do it in Britain but that these injustices are  wrong because the TRNC government is ignoring the TRNC Constitution.

It may seem strange to the reader that, as a foreigner, I should even take an interest in the TRNC Constitution. It’s simple really; I’m seeing a lot of ex-pats, and their support organisations, rushing around like headless chickens, complaining about injustices and being ignored by the TRNC government. Instead of wondering why they are being ignored by the government they either repeat their complaint or move on to a different issue without any solution ever being reached.

Well, I believe the reason the government can ignore ex-pats with apparent immunity is that we are not playing the government at their own game, the only real game in town; law. It is important to realise that the foundation of TRNC legislation should be the TRNC Constitution. Article 7 is the starting point:

Supremacy and Binding Force of the Constitution

Article 7

1. Laws shall not be contrary to or inconsistent with the Constitution.
2. The provisions of the Constitution shall be the fundamental legal principles binding the legislative, executive and judicial organs, the administrative authorities of the State and individuals.

Article 7 says it all; if it ain’t in the Constitution then it ain’t lawful. Let’s take Pauline Read’s confiscated laptop. Article 19 shows that those involved in confiscating it have “taken law into their own hands.”

Privacy of Individual’s Life

Article 19

1. There shall be no bodily search of a person or his private papers and belongings and these shall not be confiscated, except in cases expressly defined by law and on the basis of a court or judge’s decision made in accordance with usual procedure; and in cases where delay is considered undesirable on grounds of national security and public order

Article 19 is telling Pauline that without a court or judge’s decision her laptop could not be confiscated. Perhaps a judge did say informally that the laptop should be taken but I doubt that this is the “usual procedure.” Also, there seems to be some evidence that someone other than a judge or court has “taken the law into their own hands.”

We then move onto to Akfinans Bank entering Kulaksiz 5 “dwelling houses” and changing locks. Article 20 says clearly that this too can only be undertaken on the basis of a “court or judge’s decision.” In the early stages there does not appear to have been such permission and so again it looks like, yes you’ve guessed it, someone has “taken the law into their own hands.”

Inviolability of Dwelling House

Article 20

2. There shall be no entry into any dwelling house, no search shall be made therein and the property found therein shall not be confiscated, except in cases expressly defined by law and on the basis of a court or judge’s decision made in accordance with usual procedure; and in cases where delay is considered undesirable on grounds of national security or public order, without an order of the competent authority duly authorised by law.

What about buying a property and then finding that you’ve been scammed by a set of regulations which mean that when you pay for it ownership is not transferred to you?  You know, having to wait years to obtain Permission to Purchase, having to register the Contract, having to accept all sorts of Contract violations. These seem to go against common-sense Consumer Protection laws. For example, you go into the premises of a local business selling garden sheds, you decide to buy, they deliver it, you pay your money, you receive a receipt and then you own it. In theory you are protected in law under Article 65 of the TRNC Constitution so why on earth is the TRNC government allowing a different set of rules when it comes to home purchase? Rules which allows the Seller to take your money and then use your purchase to raise a mortgage they have no intention of paying off.

Protection of Consumers

Article 65

The State shall take protective and enlightening measures for consumers. It shall encourage consumers to take steps to protect themselves.

More importantly who is responsible for property purchasers being allowed to lose their fully paid for homes as in the case of the Kulaksiz 5 victims? Well that’s an easy one according to Article 110. It’s the Minister of Interior, currently Ilkay Kamil.

The Duties, Powers and Responsibilities of the Ministers

Article 110

1. The executive duties of each Minister shall include the following:
(a) to apply the laws concerning his Ministry and to administer all matters and affairs which normally come within the authority of his Ministry ;

And if the Minister of Interior, Ilkay Kamil, doesn’t sort out property purchasers’ problems then according to Article 114 the High Supervisor of the Administration (Ombudsman) should be contacted to tell him to do his job.

High Supervisor of the Administration (Ombudsman)

Article 114

1. An Ombudsman shall be appointed by the President of the Republic with the approval of the Assembly to control whether any service or act of the administration has been carried out in accordance with the legislation in force and court decisions or to control any service or act done by or on behalf of any executive or administrative unit or officer and to carry out enquiries and submit reports on such services and acts and to perform any other duties specified by law.

And if the High Supervisor of the Administration ignores you then tell the world that foreign property purchasers in the TRNC should beware and where possible don’t buy here until there is visible proof they are protected. Kulaksiz 5 property owners not being evicted would be a start!

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