Sunday, 06 February, 2022.
The Immovable Property Commission (IPC) has stated that the Evkaf – Foundations Administration can make its appeal for the other properties in Maraş/Varosha, following its recent decision to allow the Evkaf to be included as an interested party in a property claim made by a Greek Cypriot, Turkish daily Hurriyet reported today.
It is stated that as the decision sets a precedent, the Foundations Administration can also appeal for other properties.
The IPC has permitted the Evkaf to claim an interest in the case on behalf of the Abdullah Pasha Foundation established during Ottoman times. Prior to the current decision, the IPC, which includes two foreign members on its board, had only considered the 1974 title deeds owned by the Greek Cypriot, who had objected to the Evkaf claim.
Last week, the Commission re-considered the Foundations Administration’s request to become involved in the case. The lawyer representing the Greek Cypriot side argued that the objection period was 36 years according to the Law of Foundations (Ahkam-ül Evkaf) regarding immovable property, which was registered as an individual property in the 1940s, but 80 years had passed since then and the objection was time-barred. The lawyers of the Foundations Administration, on the other hand, stated that the original title deeds were found in the basement of an apartment building in 1990 and that the statute of limitations for the objection should begin from that date. Thus, for the first time in its history, the Commission decided to involve the Foundations Administration in a disputed property case. Until now, foundations could only be involved in lawsuits if the plaintiff agreed.
General Manager of the Foundations Administration İbrahim Benter told Hurriyet that the case is continuing and the IPC decision is a significant step in the Foundation’s legal battles, he said:
“The city of Maraş, which was kept closed for 46 years, consists of 4,637 decares. All of this area is registered to three foundations from the Ottoman period. Using the British property conversion laws in 1944, the Greeks turned the foundation properties that could not be transferred into individual property by fraudulent methods. All of Maraş is Ottoman property. I have been struggling [with this] since the day I took office. We will not let anyone consume the inheritance of our ancestors….”
Benter drew attention to the fact that there are two British sovereign regions in Cyprus, where naval and air bases are located, and said, “Britain has removed a significant part of its lands at the Akrotiri airbase from the status of a military zone. This area is considered British land, but according to the agreements in 1960, they have to transfer the foundation lands to us. Commander of the British bases, Major General Robert John Thomson, made a written commitment not to transfer the 2,400 decares of foundation land to the Greeks. However, it was handed over to Greek municipalities in terms of zoning. Now we will sue the British,” he said.