Greek Cypriots have already issued 9,500 title deeds for TC property

There is evidence that not just the TRNC issued title deeds to properties owned by refugees from the other side of the Green Line. These title deeds stated that the governments supported the concept that the refugees occupying these properties actually owned them. At no time was it said by either government that the ownership of these properties could not be transferred. This was the opinion of the internationally recognised GC government at the time and it was only in 2004 when Cyprus became a member of the EU that a new set of laws took precedence.

How on earth could anyone purchasing these properties pre-April 2004 have known that there was not an exchange agreement in place? There was no response from the north saying that GC refugees could not be given ownership of the TC property they occupied. It made sense and seemed to imply that what they were doing in the north was, although not legally correct, a perfectly valid process now taking place in the south.

Read the article taken from Cyprus Mail Archives, datedĀ  May 14th 1998, and make up your own mind about the confusion that reigned before EU laws replaced Cypriot laws in 2004:

“TempersĀ  flared in the House refugee committee yesterday morning as the government’s controversial scheme to issue title deeds for refugee homes came under scrutiny.”

“Committee chairman Aristofanis Georgiou, of Akel… the discussion with a regurgitation of the opposition line that the scheme had been none other than a Clerides ploy to win refugee votes in the run-up to last February’s presidential elections. Thousands of deeds were handed out before the election, and none afterwards, Georgiou stated by way of proof for his claims.”

“Christoforou countered that opposition to the scheme was politically motivated. No refugee had expressed displeasure at receiving a deed for his property, he said. The House had, by blocking the scheme in mid-flow, created an “unjust” situation where some refugees had title deeds and others not.”

Georgiou took exception to this last assertion and intervened to stop for majority decisions of the House plenum.”

“I say the House has torpedoed government efforts to meet its pre-election promises,” he stated, adding that the scheme was a promise Clerides had made as long ago as 1983.”

Charalambos Loizou, of the Nisou refugee housing estate committee, complained that the deeds were worthless anyway as banks and cooperatives would not accept them as collateral.

“Government policy on the refugee title deed issue remains the same,” Michaelides said. “I categorically reject statements that the deeds were given for pre-election reasons.”

“He also dismissed suggestions the scheme played into the hands of the Turkish side by implying that the status quo imposed by the invasion had been accepted.”

“Why, when nine-and-a-half thousand people have received deeds till now has no refugee from any party come forward to say the scheme is unacceptable because it goes against national interests?” he asked.”

[1] Hellenic Resources Network

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