Around 281 Greek Cypriots have filed for compensation from the Turkish Cypriot Immovable Property Commission (IPC) for houses and businesses in the fenced-off area of Varosha/ Maraş.
The town, abandoned since 1974 and only open to the Turkish military and the UN, is expected to reopen to its former residents under Turkish Cypriot administration, after the presidential elections scheduled for 11 October.
The head of the commission, Ayfer Said Erkmen, said that so far, 281 Greek Cypriot owners of properties in Varosha had filed applications with the IPC.
Noting that the Varosha area is 4,638 decares in size, Ayfer said that the applications made so far are about 2,318 decares, which corresponds to 50 percent of the whole town.
The IPC was set up by the Turkish Cypriot administration as a domestic remedy for claims relating to Greek Cypriot properties in the northern part of the island.
The commission is the only internationally recognised Turkish Cypriot institution other than the Turkish Cypriot leadership.
Those who owned properties in Varosha before 1974 will be notified after the change of status in the region.
In the event of any property dispute, property owners will apply to the IPC to find a solution.
Some buildings will be repaired by their owners, while others will be demolished to be rebuilt with the reopening of the ghost town.
The town is protected by a 1984 U.N. Security Council resolution, stating that the abandoned town can only be resettled by its original inhabitants.
Seeing the return of properties in Varosha to their legal owners in accordance with international law, Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akıncı believes that an informal five-party Cyprus conference will take place after the election.
Akıncı indicated at a meeting in the capital Lefkoşa that if the talks in the informal conference succeed, formal negotiations for a comprehensive settlement in Cyprus could resume.
The Cyprus problem has remained unresolved for decades despite a series of efforts by the U.N. for a lasting settlement between Turkish and Greek Cypriots.
The latest attempt to find a solution to the Cyprus problem ended in failure three years ago at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana. Meanwhile, increasing tensions over marine territory rights in the Eastern Mediterranean have further complicated efforts for a settlement.