The Immovable Property Commission (IPC) works effectively and that since 2006, it has concluded 1,086 cases from a total of 6,409 applications filed by Greek Cypriot applicants regarding their properties, IPC chairman Ayfer Erkmen has said.
The Commission has reportedly settled amicable 1,059 applications and 27 through a hearing process. Compensation was awarded in 867 out of the 1,059 applications, return of property in three cases, return after the solution in one case, compensation and return in six cases, compensation and exchange in two cases and solution within the scope of law no 13/2008 was reached in five cases. Twenty three out of the 27 applications settled in court were solved through compensation, three were rejected and in one case, part return of property was decided.
In 898 applications for which compensation was awarded, the amount of 269 million 874 thousand 251 pounds sterling was paid or will be paid, that is, 1,43 billion Turkish liras (TL) at the current exchange rate.
Erkmen said that 175 applications were withdrawn mainly because of the measures taken by the South Cyprus government. He said: “A few months ago, the Greek Cypriot administration passed a decision by the Council of Ministers. This decision consists of two articles. In the one it was secured that a Greek Cypriot can mortgage his property in the north for taking a loan from any bank in the south. After all, the Greek Cypriots who come to us all come for the money. They have financial difficulties. […]” He noted that the second decision is that the Greek Cypriots can sell their property to another Greek Cypriot.
Erkmen also said that the TRNC government, which is financed by Turkey, ring fences a budget of 75 million TL every year for the IPC. Noting that this money corresponds to 12-13 million pounds sterling annually, Erkmen complained that the amount of money allocated for the Commission’s budget is very low. Referring to the opinion of some that the IPC has lost functionality and collapsed, Erkmen pointed out that this is not true and the Commission never stopped being effective. “Payments and the Commission’s effectiveness should be examined separately”, he said.
The IPC chairman noted that he expects the new government to implement a local improvement tax the soonest in order to create a fund to pay compensations to the Greek Cypriots. He added that when the international embargo is lifted, the value of the Greek Cypriot property will be doubled or tripled and that if the value of a plot of land which belongs to a Turkish Cypriot is 200,000 TL, the value of a Greek Cypriot plot of land next to it is only 50,000 TL. When the Greek Cypriot owner is paid compensation, the international obstacle is lifted and therefore the value increases and the holder of the property benefits. “The more we pay the Greeks, the more the Greeks’ rights and law decrease in the north”, he said.
Referring to Guzelyurt (Morfou) region, Erkmen said that 365 persons from this area applied to the IPC for 48 thousand donums of land and that they had resolved 51 of these applications.
Erkmen noted also that they received 275 applications for the fenced-off city of Varosha (Maras) and added that not even one of these applications was resolved. He recalled that the UN Security Council’s Resolutions No 789 and 541 provide for the return of the city to its legal owners and argued that Varosha is a separate issue. Erkmen said that after the Crans-Montana Cyprus Conference, 15 hotel owners from Varosha had withdrawn their application to the IPC and other 16 hotel applications remained.