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Turkish Cypriots file €20m suit over land in Limassol

Interior Minister Socratis Hasikos

By Stefanos Evripidou

THE Interior Ministry yesterday responded to reports that Turkish Cypriots had filed a €20 million lawsuit at the Limassol district court against the Cyprus Republic- specifically the guardian of Turkish Cypriot properties- and those Greek Cypriots who used the plaintiff’s properties in Limassol.

The matter was first reported by Politis newspaper and then followed up by the biggest selling daily in the north Kibris.

According to the reports, the owner of the property in Limassol’s Ayios Ioannis moved abroad after 1974. After his death, his heirs decided to file a lawsuit through their lawyer, Murat Hakki.

The property in question included an apartment, 20 plots of land, and three fields.

Today, shops, residences and other buildings have been built on the land.

The court application by the Turkish Cypriot heirs argues that the government proceeded to issue permits for the construction of buildings on the property without getting prior approval of the lawful owner, reported Kibris.

It is believed the applicants are prepared to go all the way to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) if the Cypriot court does not provide a satisfactory remedy.

In response, the Interior Ministry issued a statement yesterday saying that in cases of friendly settlements, the Republic does not discuss possible payment of compensation for loss of use.

The ministry notes that the Turkish Cypriot applicants already tried to take this case to the ECHR but were told to exhaust all local remedies first. Hence, on Wednesday the ministry was notified the court case had been filed.

The interested party communicated with the ministry in early 2014 through a Greek Cypriot law office to discuss a possible friendly settlement with the Republic, said the statement.

According to the ministry, two meetings were held with applicants’ lawyers (Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot) to discuss a possible friendly settlement where by a part of the property would be expropriated to house displaced Greek Cypriots and hand over the remaining property on the provision that the applicants satisfy all legal conditions.

The main condition is that the applicants must not be in possession of Greek Cypriot properties in the non-controlled areas of the Cyprus Republic.

“In such cases of friendly settlements, the Republic does not discuss payment of compensation for loss of use.”

It added that any arrangement reached with the applicants would have to be approved by the cabinet.

The ministry clarified that the lawsuit was filed by Greek Cypriot administrators of the Turkish Cypriot property while negotiations were ongoing with the ministry.

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