After the 1974 Turkish invasion, hotels were built on 133 plots of land belonging to Greek Cypriots, according to Ayfer Erkmen, the chairman of the immovable property commission (IPC) in the north, Turkish Cypriot media reported on Wednesday.
During the same period, 33 hotels were built on Turkish Cypriot land, Star Kibris reported.
The IPC was set up a ‘domestic remedy’ to resolve cases involving Greek Cypriots claiming their property through the European Court of Human Rights but has proven to be largely ineffective even though a number of people have been given their property back or been compensated.
Of the 133 hotels, Erkmen said: “The users should purchase the land of these hotels the soonest. An investment was made here. These investors must become owners of the property through the IPC.”
Asked about Nikolas Skourides, a Greek Cypriot from Lapithos who has been given back his land and is attempting to build a house despite a number of obstacles, Erkmen said: “Our 67/2005 law says return, exchange and compensation. This is a 78-year-old man. He said he was born in Larnakas tis Lapithou and wants to die there. We investigated, we asked our security forces. We were told that there is no problem.”
Erkmen said the IPC could not always compensate – it has run out of money – “we must give restitution as well”.
“Some very wrong things are being said. It is even alleged that this man will blow up the village. There is no such thing. One person will come and live among one thousand persons. Moreover, he will do this with our laws and we are afraid of this?” he added.
Referring to the work of the IPC, Erkmen said 201 cases had been concluded but payments had been halted, 11 property restitutions had been granted, three of which were full returns. There were also partial returns, and seven cases to be given restitution in full after a solution.
Erkmen said the IPC has put some proposals to Turkey to strengthen it such as taxing those using Greek Cypriot properties to help fund the IPC.