The government is working to improve support schemes for Cypriot refugees, especially in housing policy, but will not introduce measures specifically for property owners in Varosha, which would effectively release Turkey from its obligation to pay compensation for the invasion and occupation of the northern part of the island. This was announced on Monday, July 26, by the President of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades.
Anastasiades stressed that he cannot make promises in relation to refugees from Varosha that will not be fulfilled for financial and legal reasons. The question is about the owners of real estate in the military zone of Varosha, which occupies about 3.5% of the territory of the "ghost town".
As you may know, the other day the leader of the Turkish Cypriots, Ersin Tatar, announced his plans to open this part of the area for Greek Cypriot refugees in order to return their property.
Many local officials have called on the authorities to support the Cypriot refugees so that they do not start massively selling their property in Varosha. In turn, the Famagusta Chamber of Commerce and Industry expressed disappointment and regret at the call of the National Council for refugees from Varosha not to apply to the Real Estate Commission (IPC), created by Turkey in the north of the country. The National Council said that the option proposed by the Turkish side for those who want to return "carries serious risks because of the Turkey's real goals." Anastasiades said that one of the political leaders proposed to create a special fund in the National Council.
We have to calculate the total cost of the possible donations. At the same time, we must take this situation as a political signal. We are talking about billions of euros, which in the end the Republic of Cyprus will be forced to pay, although this is Turkey's obligation after its invasion and occupation of the island, the President of Cyprus noted.
Anastasiades said that he would not make any promises that cannot be fulfilled both due to financial costs and due to the legal aspect, since this will essentially release Turkey from its obligation to pay compensation, which is legally justified by the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights.
What we can and will do is continue to improve our refugee support programs, especially with regard to housing policy. These programs are constantly being reviewed and supplemented, - he added.
Speaking about the revocation of Cypriot passports from the leader of the Turkish Cypriots, Ersin Tatar and other officials, Anastasiades noted that he considers this to be correct, and if someone wants to challenge this decision, they should go to court.
Those who do not recognize the Republic of Cyprus and claim that they have their own independent state, and also promote the division of the island, cannot have a passport of the Republic of Cyprus. The constitution states that a person must comply with constitutional provisions and protect the independence and territorial integrity of his country, Anastasiadis said.
By the way, Cypriot deputies submitted a bill to Parliament for consideration, according to which people who recognize the regime in the occupied territories will not be able to obtain citizenship of the Republic of Cyprus. This proposal was first announced in November 2019. It was under consideration by the Parliamentary Committee for Internal Affairs. However, now, in connection with the actions of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot administration in Varosha, they remembered about the bill again.
It is worth noting that the bill is aimed at people who recognize the administration of a quasi-state, have any powers in it, or own property belonging to a Greek Cypriot or any other legal owner. The bill is expected to be approved as soon as Parliament starts working after the summer holidays. Thus, Cyprus will send a strong signal of resistance to Turkey's plans.
In turn, on Monday, the leader of the Turkish Cypriots Ersin Tatar met with the former chairman of Evkaf (the fund for religious donations of Turkish Cypriots) Taner Derviş.
Turkish Cypriots who have abandoned their property in the south are entitled to receive similar property in the north, as no compensation has been paid to them. The laws and the Constitution that divided the provinces provide such a right, the Tatars said during the meeting.
Tatars referred to the Real Estate Commission (IPC) claiming that it is recognized by international law and includes foreign judges. At the same time, he added that its main purpose is to consider applications.
With the support of Turkey, we made a decision to give the property in Varosha to their owners, who are obliged to contact the Committee, - said Tatar.
In the end, he stressed that he intends to continue working in this direction, defending the interests of the Turkish Cypriots, who cannot be compensated for their property in the south.
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Photos: pixabay.com, cyprus-mail.com