On Tuesday, February 16, the EDEK party submitted a new bill to the Refugee Committee for consideration prohibiting local authorities and public organizations from renting property of Turkish Cypriots.
According to party members, this could put an end to the arbitrary actions of the Paphos municipality regarding the management of Turkish Cypriot property.
The Mayor of Paphos Phedonas Phedonos, in turn, retaliated by accusing the deputies of "political cannibalism." He was supported by the Ministry of the Interior, a number of municipalities, communities and the Pancyprian Refugee Committee, which protested against the EDEK proposal.
Committee Chairman and AKEL MP Skevi Koukoumas said that her party has doubts about the EDEK initiative, since a number of buildings of architectural importance need renovation, which requires the participation of local authorities at the expense of the EU.
It should be noted that in the near future, many organizations and officials are expiring the TC properties lease period. If the EDEK party bill is approved, these agreements will not be extended. Koukoumas said there would be problems with the management of facilities such as nursing homes, kindergartens and other public buildings.
'There are communities in which the overwhelming majority of real estate belongs to Turkish Cypriots. In most cases, refugees live in these facilities or the properties are used for social purposes. If the bill is adopted, a number of projects will have to be closed', Koukoumas emphasized.
She also noted that the bill will be considered. However, it is possible that MPs may want to alternatively amend the current law to introduce security provisions to prevent further abuse.
'The law in its current form suits everyone. However, we are faced with a problem in Paphos', - said Koukoumas.
As you may know after the occupation of the northern part of Cyprus by Turkey in 1974, the property belonging to the Turkish Cypriots in the south of the island was taken to the balance of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus.
Since the Greek Cypriot refugees needed housing, the government decided to rent out houses and apartments of the Turkish Cypriots who left them in 1974. Refugees were charged a small rent. One of the conditions was the obligation to return the property to its rightful owners, the Turkish Cypriots, if the need arises.
In 1991, a special service for the management of Turkish Cypriot real estate was established. When Phedonas Phedonos became the mayor of Paphos, he revealed a number of violations in the process of renting such housing. In particular, many tenants subleased their allocated real estate, which is strictly prohibited. They did not declare the money received from the sublease in the Department of Taxes and Duties and, accordingly, did not pay taxes on them.
In turn, the chairman of the Union of Cypriot Municipalities Andreas Vyras, said that EDEK's proposal is contrary to the interests of citizens, adding that many municipalities and communities share his opinion.
Photos: DOM LiVE, pixabay.com