Is the eşdeğer property exchange system now workable?

exchangeIn north Cyprus, a system called eşdeğer was used to allow Turkish Cypriots with property in the south to use these title deeds in order to be allocated Greek Cypriot property in the north. This is a major over-simplification of the system but as the purpose of this article is not to discuss it in detail I’ll move on to recent events which I believe could have an impact on this system.

The Greek Cypriot Interior Minister Neoklis Silikiotis has said that he intends to give the Turkish Cypriot property to 8,500 Greek Cypriots currently living in them and has made it clear that this would only be with the consent of the original owners. There has got to be some of those GCs with land in the north which has been taken as part of the eşdeğer system just as it is likely that some of the land occupied by GCs belongs to TCs who have exchanged it for property in the north.

Silikiotis says that the allocation of title deeds to GCs occupying TC land will start by mid-2010 so surely this would be the quickest way of getting this system working. It will cost the GC taxpayers nothing and during a recession this has got to be a good thing.

Now critics tell me many reasons why this will not work, most of them political, but one is based on human greed. I am told that a number of TCs not only “exchanged” their property in the south for property in the north which they subsequently sold, but they then went south and sold it again. This is possible because the only internationally recognised Land Registry in Cyprus is in the south. Oh well, it was just an idea.

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