The Evkaf administration is preparing to file a case on property rights with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
After seven years of sifting through thousands of documents, examining the history of the Evkaf administration between 1571 and 1974, a study commissioned by the Evkaf concludes that 14% of property in Cyprus belongs to the Evkaf.
Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan reports that despite this, after 1878, the actual use by the Evkaf of property fell to 0.6% since the days of British colonial rule and the formation of the Republic of Cyprus.
Research shows that the number of known Evkaf properties is 608, but generally, there are 2,220 properties owned by the Evkaf in Cyprus. Buildings which served the community, such as mosques, schools and fountains were mapped.
Addressing a press conference, Evkaf director Professor Ibrahim Benter announced that as a result of this study, the Efkav will take legal action in Cyprus and at the international courts to claim its properties. He added that the documents they obtained will be useful in every respect and one benefit will be for the ongoing Cyprus talks.
Benter also said that they should be prepared for the time when the property issue is discussed at the negotiations and the Evkaf will need to produce its financial inventory. He said that in order to reach a fair agreement, the Evkaf should claim its properties using evidence based on international law.
Stating that “there is a declaratory ruling by the court that the properties in Varosha are Evkaf property”, Benter argued that in order to be able to file a claim at the ECHR, there should be an effective domestic remedy both in TRNC and in South Cyprus.
The director of the project Dr Nazif Ozturk, also stated that 14% of the property in Cyprus belongs to the Evkaf administration, adding that the known number of mosques is 190, however the real number of mosques is 400 and most of them are in South Cyprus.