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Cyprus Talks

Resurfacing property reports ‘unreal’, says spokesman

Nicos Christodoulides

THE Greek Cypriot side on Thursday refused to be drawn on new reports in Turkish daily Milliyet outlining parts of the property discussions in the ongoing negotiations.

Government Spokesman Nicos Christodoulides, when asked to comment, said in general press reports “particularly recently” do not correspond to reality. It is possible, he said, such reports “are intended to serve certain purposes”.

“The government does not comment on press reports. The Cyprus issue will be resolved at the negotiating table,” he added.

According to Milliyet, which in an earlier report, had referred to the introduction of ‘emotional criteria’ into the property quagmire, said it had created the impression that it would give the Turkish Cypriot side significant gains. The ‘emotional criteria’ was said to set the age of ten and over as the point where someone could have developed an emotional tie to a home or property.

Miliyet said the property issue would be based on return, exchange and compensation.

“There is no right of having the first say, as it is alleged. There will be the right of submitting the first application,” the paper said.

It also said that all title deeds issued in northern Cyprus would be deemed valid.

“If a Greek Cypriot has a claim over a property in the north, he is obliged to prove it. The same rule is valid for the Turkish Cypriots as well. And the Turks must prove their claim over a property in the south,” it added.

The new property commission, which will be established by an equal number of Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots after a solution, will make the decision.

If the claim of the applicant is found valid, the conditions of exchange, compensation and return [of property] will be examined it said.

If the property had been vacant before 1974 and was built on at a later date, there would be no return but the landowner would be compensated. Places of religious worship will also be returned, but not Church and religious affairs properties.

“The return of all Greeks or all Turks is out of the question,” the paper said.

It said that around 5,000 Greek Cypriots would be able to benefit from the ‘emotional bond’ criterion. “The average age of the Greek Cypriots who will gain the right to return varies between 67 and 75. It is considered that the Greek Cypriots of this age will not return,” it added.

“If the Greek Cypriot wants to return, the current user will be compensated for the value of the house.”

Milliyet also reported that if the Greek Cypriots were to take step back from insisting on the return of Morphou, “they may face a flexible stance on the issue of guarantees”.

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