Turkish Cypriot properties in South Cyprus have been mismanaged. An intensive effort to stamp out the practice is underway, said South Cyprus Interior Minister Constantinos Petrides.
Paphos Mayor Phedonas Phedonos said politicians and others had been illegally exploiting property allocation rules.
The mayor said that ineligible individuals, including a former minister and former municipal councillor were profiting through the unlawful possession of Turkish Cypriot properties.
Petrides acknowledged that the cases the mayor was referring to were known to him and the Turkish Cypriot management service.
“The Paphos mayor’s reports concern seven cases, already known to the minister, for which the necessary procedures are underway to recover them or put other corrective measures in place, like readjusting the rent,” Petrides said in a written statement.
He said these constituted a small number of the cases identified by the ministry.
“The ministry, especially the Turkish Cypriot property management service, has launched an intensive effort to identify and stamp out mismanagement that has accumulated all these years,” he said.
After 1974 Turkish military operation in Cyprus, properties abandoned by Turkish Cypriots in the south were, by law, put under the protection of the interior ministry, or the guardian of Turkish Cypriot properties.
Because of the need to house Greek Cypriots who were displaced from the north, it was decided to allocate such properties to them for a peppercorn rent, on condition that the owners would not lose their rights.
The mayor of Paphos said there were people, who were not entitled, who were holding property worth millions, either because they had been renting it before the military intervention or managed to secure them in a variety of ways.
A former minister had property in his possession without being eligible, and a former councillor who stayed in North Cyprus for a few months before Turkey’s intervention but managed to secure refugee status, now has buildings in his possession that he sublets for €2,000 to €3,000 per month, without declaring the earnings to the tax department, the mayor said.
He also mentioned a party official who negotiated for the construction of a commercial building on Turkish Cypriot property by a company in which, it later emerged, he held shares. Neither he nor his wife were refugees.
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