CTP Criticise Bill to Remove Turkey from Grey List

Interior Minister Dursun Oğuz
[Interior Minister Dursun Oğuz]
A bill passed by the Assembly will place more demands on local resources and takes no account of infrastructure needs, critics say.

The “Acquisition and Long-Term Lease (Foreigners) (Amendment) Bill,” believed to have been prepared by bureaucrats in the Republic of Turkey and seen as “a step towards removing Turkey from the FATF (Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering) grey list“, was passed by the Assembly by a majority vote. The bill has now been sent to President Ersin Tatar for approval, Yeniduzen reports.

Despite opposition from CTP deputies, Interior Minister Dursun Oğuz  defended the law, stating, “It is an insult to everyone who has worked on this to say it was because someone wanted it“, and asserted that the suggestions and opinions included in the law were not imposed by anyone and that it had no connection to removing Turkey from the grey list.

The bill was passed by a majority vote with 8 against, 16 abstentions, and 26 in favour.

All Hype, No Substance

Leader of the main opposition party CTP, Tufan Erhürman, speaking at the General Assembly where the bill was discussed, highlighted that the issue of regulating the sale of property to foreigners involves both land area and population. He mentioned that his party had requested regulations addressing these two points at the committee stage.

Tufan Erhurman - CTP
[Tufan Erhürman – Chairman of CTP]
Erhürman noted that while a quota had been introduced regarding land area, it litte meaning. He emphasised that issues like the need for schools, hospitals, and sewage systems are related to population, not land area, and that the newly introduced law would not impact this.

He argued that the law should set limits in terms of land area and population, but this was not done. He stressed the importance of maintaining the predominant presence of TRNC citizens in certain regions and managing the pressure on services, but noted that these concerns were not addressed in the bill.

Erhürman pointed out that the bill encourages vertical rather than horizontal growth and mentioned that certain municipalities face problems with sewage treatment plants, which worsen as the population grows.

He highlighted that foreigners would be allowed to purchase one apartment, while citizens of countries recognizing the TRNC could purchase three, arguing that this demonstrates a political vision where no other country will recognise the TRNC.

Saying “The mountain gave birth to a mouse“, Erhürman questioned whether the regulations on contracts and trustees would be implemented after two and a half years. He stressed that protecting the land is not the only issue, pointing out that the main problem is planning services due to population, which the law does not address.

Erhürman emphasised the importance of knowing that investments would stop when quotas are reached and called for regulations in this direction. He mentioned that if an Iranian person bought 75 apartments, dividing them among 75 Iranians within two years means that 75 people would require services, which is significant for national planning.

Erhürman said that the CTP views this law as a failure, stating that the actual outcome does not match the intention. He warned that in certain areas, the market is being determined by foreigners, leading to the public’s gradual extinction. Erhürman concluded by stating that they would vote against the bill.

Bill is Unenforceable

Independent Deputy Ayşegül Baybars argued that the law was unenforceable and said that there was no data available and there were contradictory articles contained in the bill.

Meanwhile, CTP Deputy Ongun Talat stated that the bill was prepared by the bureaucrats in mainland Turkey. Talat mentioned that the bill that had emerged was unrelated to its initial purpose.

He noted that the bill did not include regulations to facilitate property acquisition for people living in the country, highlighting that while the right for foreigners to purchase one apartment was expanded to allow some foreigners to purchase up to three apartments, no real limitation was imposed, and flexibility was granted instead.

Regarding the  CTP’s suggestions at the committee stage and the provisions included or excluded from the bill, Talat stated that their proposals regarding district and national quotas and agricultural lands were included in the bill.

Talat emphasised that the law was not prepared in accordance with the interests of Turkish Cypriots.

Hastily Prepared Bill

North Cyprus News - Fikri Toros - CTP
[Fikri Toros – CTP]
CTP Deputy Fikri Toros stated that a hastily prepared bill was created to ensure Turkey’s removal from the grey list at the upcoming Financial Action Task Force meeting. Referring to the law on preventing money laundering, Toros questioned why a law regarding cryptocurrency had not been introduced if the primary objective was to get Turkey off the list.

Toros highlighted that one of the ongoing political issues in the TRNC is property ownership, with cases before the Immovable Property Commission and the European Court of Human Rights, indicating the broader context of the issue. He stated that everyone who is not a TRNC citizen is considered a foreigner and criticised the provision allowing Turkish citizens to purchase three times as many properties than other foreigners, saying it conflicts with concerns about ghettoisation.

Toros argued that the bill, prepared without data and lacking a proper comprehensive plan, would not serve its purpose. He emphasised that it would disrupt current economic activities, the investment climate, and harm the economy.

He also remarked that no one needed more chaos and described the bill as premature, lacking important elements, and likely to cause public finance issues. He concluded that the bill would not serve its intended purpose.

Yeniduzen

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