The British Bases (SBA) are making new efforts to return vehicles belonging to Turkish Cypriots who were relocated to the occupied areas in 1975, Forces TV reported on Friday.
Hundreds of cars, motorbikes, buses, and tractors were abandoned inside Episkopi Garrison in Limassol and have been stored there ever since.
The vintage vehicles make an exquisite site ‘a stark reminder, in rusting metal, of how this island was torn apart’ the report said.
The state of the cars are in various states of decay after a 1991 bush fire burned 60 per cent of them.
Nevertheless, structurally, many are in good condition.
“We’re going to try to repatriate as many of these vehicles as we can. We have lists of owners, we’ve got adverts on our website, we’ve got adverts in the Turkish Cypriot media, and we’ve had a little interest as well, policy support officer for the SBAs Administration, Ian Brayshaw told Forces TV.
The new efforts have every vehicle photographed and logged, with the details put online while the bases hope people will come forward.
Those who claim they are the owners will need to provide evidence – a log book, service record or even a photograph from the time.
A hopeful project, the SBAs are very much aware that Turkish Cypriots live across the world thus constituting a repatriation of all the vehicles close to impossible.
Although they hope media coverage will help, Brayshow told Forces TV their more realistic plan for those not returned to their original owners.
“What we’re planning to do, although details haven’t been finalised, is to scrap them off, sell them, do whatever we can to get some kind of value from them. Any value we do get from them will go into Turkish Cypriot communities within Cyprus.”
People were always able to collect their vehicles, Brayshow added and in the past they have had people collect agricultural equipment however the difference now is the SBA’s active effort to reach out to the owners – a sign of changing times, the report said as negotiations to resolve the Cyprus problem are ongoing.
See video here http://forces.tv/75341223