Opposition parties have complained that they only found out about governmental plans for the fenced-off town of Maras during a routine press briefing after a cabinet meeting.
They said that they had been left in the dark about a decision to hold an inventory on all properties lying in the so-called ‘ghost city’ of Maras.
Addressing the plenary on Monday, leader of the Social Democratic Party (TDP) Cemal Ozyigit said that the issue should have have been discussed at a high-level meeting with President Akıncı, before taking any decision on Maras.
He also emphasised that there was an international dimension to the issue of Maras and the town could only be opened under UN supervision and returned it to its lawful owners.
Former prime minister and leader of the main opposition Republican Turkish Party (CTP) Tufan Erhurman said that the government had yet to share details of its plans for the town.
He added that there appeared to be confusion over the matter even between the coalition partners.
“Even the President, who is the UN’s number one interlocutor has no information about the details of the initiative. What you say must be consistent. More importantly, you need to carry out a serious assessment before acting on what you plant to do”, he said.
In response, Foreign Minister Kudret Ozersay said that the government had taken a clear decision to conduct an inventory of Maras and had agreed, in principle, to take a step without damaging the rights of former residents.
Their next move would be determined by the results of the inventory, he said.
“However, we haven’t decided what will be included in the inventory or a timetable for the project”, said Ozersay.
He noted that meetings would be arranged with the president, former presidents and the political parties in the very near future.
Prime Minister Ersin Tatar, addressing the assembly reminded that Maras has been closed off for 45 years and the Greek Cypriot side assumed that the return of the town in the event of a solution to the Cyprus problem was a ‘done deal’.
“Since there is no solution in Cyprus, this option is no longer on the table”, he said.
The prime minister added that the political situation on the island had changed and it was time to pursue a proactive policy.
Maras should be reopened under Turkish Cypriot control, he said and former residents should either be compensated for their properties or be permitted to return.