TRNC considering idea that ex-pat homebuyers pay part of IPC award

Discussions amongst ex-pats and Turkish Cypriot (TC) occupiers of Greek Cypriot (GC) land in the north have recently focused on rumours that the Turkish government is considering asking them to pay part of the Immovable Property Commission (IPC) award if the GC owner declines an offer of TC land in the south. A possible scenario suggested is that a GC applies to the IPC for the return of 1 dönüm of land in Girne in the north currently occupied by an ex-pat who has built a villa on what used to be a field. The IPC then considers the case and because the land has now been built on the option of return is not considered. The GC is instead offered either 1 dönüm of land in the Paphos area, the deeds to which have been handed in by the TC in exchange for the Girne field, or £60,000 cash. If the GC declines the 1 dönüm of land in Paphos then the Turkish government will give the GC £40,000 and the ex-pat has to pay £20,000 in exchange for internationally recognised title deeds. Anyone with any sense at the meeting would have suggested selling the rejected land and using that to pay the award, especially as land in the south is worth more than that in the north.

There is however land which was given to TCs and Turks without asking for South Cyprus deeds in exchange, it was called TMD land. In this case, although the GC would be offered the same options, the land in the south would not be linked to the original TRNC granting of title deeds.

Let’s look at two scenarios which hypothetically occurred in the 1990’s. Mr. Konya was a Turkish mainlander given a 1 donum field in Girne in recognition for services to the TRNC. Next door to him Mr. Gül was given a similar field and he gave up his Paphos title deeds in exchange, unlike Mr Konya. In 2010 both still lived on the land and had built simple homes on them, now in poor repair. Both properties were part of an IPC award of £60,000 per plot made to a GC who accepted the cash. Both are asked to pay £20,000 of the award.

My Konya is horrified as he has no savings and the repayments offered by the bank, over 10 years, are more than renting and he cannot be sure the interest rates will no escalate dramatically once he accepts the loan. Mr Gül, however, decides to pay the full £60,000 compensation but demands his title deeds for land in Paphos back. He has discovered that the land is now worth £100,000 and believes that as compensation has been paid by him he is within his rights to demand both the north Cyprus property as well as his property in the south.

OK, I’m just playing with these scenarios but I can see all sorts of complications arising with the different ways this idea would affect Turks, Turkish Cypriots and ex-pats. It does seem unfair that the Turkish Mainlander would be affected worse than the TC and ex-pat. I can even see the Turk being offered money by the bank to vacate the land they can no longer afford to live on. Perhaps I am just being suspicious.

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