Maras-Varosha Does Not Legally Belong To Greek Cypriots

Maras-Varosha Does Not Legally Belong To Greek CypriotsWell that’s the way the Turkish Cypriot argument goes. According to them it belongs to Evkaf, a Muslim charity dating back to the Ottoman conquest of 1571.

The counter Greek Cypriot argument starts by saying that the Turks in 1571 started to steal Cypriot land. The problem with that argument was that Cypriots had lived as Orthodox serfs under Catholic Venetian rule and if there was any land ownership it would be by the defeated Venetians. Whatever the truth, it appears that the Turks gave Cypriots numerous rights, including religious independence and ownership of land and so from that point deeds would start to be issued to Cypriots.

Ottoman rule weakened in the 19th Century until in 1922 Cyprus formally became British. In 1924 a land census showed that one third was owned by the Sultan, one third by Muslims, and one third by non-Muslims. Land listed under the Sultan and Muslim owners also included land held in trust by Evkaf.

Unfortunately for those holding land associated with the Turks, the British did not look upon them kindly for siding with the Germans in WW2. Evkaf land was taken by Greek speaking Cypriots – individuals, businesses, schools and the Greek Orthodox Church. Former Evkaf head, Taner Derviş, in a recent lecture presented title deeds from the past where Evkaf land was unlawfully transferred, with Greek Cypriot names on the deeds authorised by British officials.
The trust’s research shows that 77% of Maraş was illegally occupied by Greek Cypriots in this way, with similar unlawful occupation of Evkaf land across south Cyprus.

Another Greek Cypriot argument was that British squatters rights were in place from 1907:

“In 1907 the British Colonial Administration passed a general prescription law (Law 12/1907) allowing people to own properties they possessed without dispute for 10 years; similar English Law specifies 12 years. Under this law Maraş titles were transferred to Greek inhabitants.”

“However in 1907, there was another law in force in Cyprus: Ahkamul Evkaf – the Law of Religious Foundations. According to Ahkamul Evkaf, no Evkaf property could be owned by way of prescription. Evkaf property title is owned in perpetuity. Since Ahkamul Evkaf is a specific law for Evkaf properties it has priority and should have been applied instead of any other law. Applying the general law of 12/1907 and not the specific law was wrong and against legal principles. So Greek Cypriot title deeds relating to Maraş are defective.”

Yet another Greek Cypriot argument is that Appendix U of the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne stated that the British Government was:

“making available the sum of £1,500,000 by way of a grant to the Turkish community in Cyprus to be used for education, the development of Vakf property and cultural and other like purposes.”

Greek Cypriots argue that this money was compensation for the property the British had passed to them and yet no sale documents were ever issued.

In the Republic of Cyprus’ Constitution of 1960, Article 110 states that “no legislative, executive or other act whatsoever shall contravene or override or interfere with such Laws or Principles of Vakfs.” Annexe E of the 1960 Treaty of the Establishment of the Republic of Cyprus states: “all legal liabilities and obligations incurred by the government of the Colony of Cyprus” are passed on to the new Cypriot Government.

What a mess! For the full story read ‘Evkaf is the real owner of Maraş/Varosha’ in T-Vine

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11 comments to Maras-Varosha Does Not Legally Belong To Greek Cypriots

  • Miltiades

    IN 1571 when the Ottomans invaded Cyprus, they brought along with them …..Varosia !!
    What a blatant audacity. Cyprus has a 10 thousand year history devoid of the Ottomans, suddenly they declare that that a part of Cyprus does not belong to its native people but to them !!

  • Dominic Freeman

    Yes, Cyprus belongs to its ‘native people’ as much as America and Britain does. I think you’ll find that ownership has to do with who holds a legal contract of sale and transferred title deeds and when the Venetians were pushed out in 1571 there weren’t many ‘natives’ left with title deeds. Mind you, there are thousands of purchasers in Cyprus, north and south, who have handed over cash only to find they don’t have legally binding ownership. Ain’t it a mess!

  • Miltiades

    Would you therefore not agree that G/Cs who legally own land and property in the occupied parts are still the legal owners ?

  • Dominic Freeman

    Milt, there lies the theme of the story. In the south, for example, Greek Cypriots are legal owners of property they have sold to expats but have not transferred deeds and are refusing to do so. Deeds have been created post 1922 by the British to transfer to Greek speaking Cypriots property taken from the Turkish owners without their permission because they have been expelled from Cyprus. Turkish speaking Cypriots are using Greek speaking Cypriot property in the north and they have property in the south they are refused access to. Some of these Turkish Cypriots, because of hardship perhaps, have cashed this property in by selling them to ex-pats. Greek Cypriots have compulsorily taken Turkish Cypriot property… what a mess!

  • Ian Edwards

    Hey Yiannis, would you not agree that TCs who legally own land and property in the GC-occupied parts are still the legal owners?

  • Miltiades

    Of course I agree that T/Cs with property in the RoC STILL ARE THE LEGAL OWNERS.

    I ferociously condemn those Cypriots who have sold properties to anyone and as yet have not handed deeds over.

    I also strongly condemn the continued usurpation of land and properties legally owned by G/Cs in the occupied parts of Cyprus.

    Im amazed at the naivety surrounding so called ex pats who hand over cash for properties without ensuring that deeds are handed over on exchange, after all this is what we always do in the UK. Exchange of contracts means just that, you take my dosh I take your deeds.

  • Dominic Freeman

    In the south TCs with legal title deeds cannot take possession of their property until there is a settlement so having legal title deeds is irrelevant as there will never be a settlement. Only an idiot would blame them therefore, after 40 years, for selling GC property they have been given so they can feed their family in the embargoed north?

  • Miltiades

    What you are really saying is that you and the rest of cheapskates DO NOT WANT A SOLUTION.
    A solution scares the shiiiits out of you.

    A solution will inevitably materialize and when it does you rest assured that scum will be declared persona non grata.

  • AM

    Yes there will be a solution and it will be a permanant split..

    Then imbeciles like you will disappear and the North will live happily ever after…amen.

  • Dominic Freeman

    Milt, I’m using the evidence of the only referendum so far in 2004 when the south voted against a solution.

  • Miltiades

    [shush reason=”should not be allowed on a computer”]The 2004 referendum rejected the Annan Plan. The G/Cs did not vote against a solution you moron. They voted in a democratic fashion to reject the plan that afforded Turkey legality of its barbaric invasion in 1974. They voted against Turkey been given guarantor rights over the entire island. They voted against a camouflaged division of the island. They voted against the hoisting of either Greek or Turkish flags on our police stations and other communal governmental buildings. They voted against roads being classified either Greek or Turkish.
    The Annan Plan masquerading as a “unification” plan was masterminded by none other than Britain and Turkey.

    The G/Cs will NEVER accept a progressively islamitized nation as the guarantor of our sovereignty, our freedom of speech, the freedom of our media to express views that are contrary to those held by the government. Who on earth would accept a third world backward nation as our guarantor. You lot would but you are cheapskates who, for financial reasons, have thrown your support behind Turkey, a nation that has perhaps the worst human rights record. Just look at how its minority, some 20 million Kurds. are treated. Do you seriously think that the G/Cs would accept Turkey as our ….guarantor!!

    I do not despise people I just despise criminals, child molesters perverts, murderers and cheapskates.[/shush]