A Greek Cypriot man who is building a house in the Turkish-occupied north appeared unfazed on Friday by the reactions of his would-be neighbours and vowed to realize his dream.
Nicolas Skourides, 78, was also aggrieved by the treatment he had received in the Republic throughout the years and revealed that he had voted against a reunification blueprint in 2004.
“I am in favour of a solution,” he told Politis radio 107.6. “I don’t care what it is as long as it is fair.”
The 78-year-old had applied to the immovable property commission in the north in a bid to get back his home at Larnacas Lapithou, a village on the south side of the Pentadaktylos range towards the west.
After much wrangling, the breakaway state granted Skourides his property and a title deed to a now-empty plot since his ancestral home had been demolished.
“So, I decided to build what I dreamt of,” he said.
Skourides said he had been visiting the village since the crossings opened in 2003 and he met most of the residents, Turkish Cypriots who also speak Greek, relocated there from Paphos after the invasion.
Until recently there had been no reactions, he said, “rather, they encouraged me when I told them I had decided to build a house.”
He said he wasn’t sure what the reactions were about since he wasn’t there at the time – people told him it could be because of the elections in Turkey, others said it was because his house would be leaving the person who occupied the plot behind him without access.
Skourides doesn’t seem to care about the status of the breakaway state, suggesting there was no difference between the two sides.
He said he made a lot of sacrifices for his country, he was also part of the EOKA struggle.
“I am not ashamed to say it; I’m a patriot.”
But he says he saw nothing in return, apart from 1,000 Cyprus pounds towards building a house when others received much more for repairs and renovations.
“No one knew me until now. Now I am getting calls from the media because I am building a house,” he said.
The Greek Cypriot refugee said he voted against the Annan plan in 2004 “because I was convinced at the time that certain things wouldn’t work. I am not ashamed to say it.”
Fourteen years on, in his eyes political parties only care about their own interests.
“The Cyprus problem is not solved because there may be people who don’t want it solved,” he said.