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Cyprus refugees to get Title Deeds

The government is trying to secure Title Deeds for all refugees living in government-built estates, including those on Turkish Cypriot land, a top official said on Thursday.

INTERIOR Minister Neoclis Sylikiotis told the Cyprus Mail that an effort is being made to issue Title Deeds to those refugees living on Turkish Cypriot land through agreed procedures with the legal owners.

After 1974, the Republic put all Turkish Cypriot properties under the guardianship of the Interior Minister, who prohibits their sale, exchange and transfer because of the state of emergency.

However, without following proper expropriation procedures, the Republic took large expanses of Turkish Cypriot-owned land for development projects and for refugee estates.

The minister said there have been Turkish Cypriots willing to come to an agreement where their land was used to house Greek Cypriot refugees.

Sylikiotis said the government avoids expropriating the land as legal complications could arise.

In one such case the court ruled in favour of the owner and also rejected a subsequent appeal.

For the time being, those living on estates build on Turkish Cypriot land will receive an ownership certificate until the issue is resolved with the legal owners of the property.

The certificate can be used to mortgage the property.

Meanwhile reports suggested the government prepared a bill amending the law on the Guardian of Turkish Cypriot properties in a bid to tackle appeals before the European Court of Human Rights.

The new provisions allow the Guardian, who is the interior minister, to return Turkish Cypriot properties or pay compensation or both where he deems necessary.

This practice has been used in the past but it was never enshrined in the law, the reports said.

It also makes clear that any claims should go through the courts of the Republic of Cyprus.

The reports said these changes were aimed in preventing any court decisions that would reverse the role played by the Guardian.

It is believed the changes were prompted by a recent case before the European Court of Human Rights in which the Republic agreed to pay a Turkish Cypriot €500,000 as damages for loss if use of one-and-a-half houses (she is co-owner in the second) in Larnaca in which Greek Cypriot refugees are living.

Readers' comments

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  • Dave Norman says:

    Amazing how the Government can do things so quickly when it gets them out trouble.

  • The views expressed in readers' comments are not necessarily shared by the Cyprus Property News.


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