Cyprus Mail

Use of TC properties could be passed to refugee descendants

Skevi Koukouma

A bill providing for the right of children and grandchildren of refugees who live in Turkish Cypriot property to use the house after the original users pass away is to be soon tabled to the House plenum to vote, MPs said on Tuesday.

According to the House refugee committee, the bill, tabled by Disy, Akel and Diko, aims to stop evictions of children or grandchildren of refugees who had been given Turkish Cypriot property to live in.

Granting the right to close relatives to continue to use the property, however, will also depend on a number of criteria and as long as those concerned have not received any state aid for housing.

Currently, MPs said, the property is recovered by the guardian of Turkish Cypriot property – the interior ministry – even if it is used by children or grandchildren of the deceased, so that it can give it to other applicants.

The head of the committee, Akel’s Skevi Koukouma, said that the interior ministry spends around €120,000 annually for evictions from Turkish Cypriot property.

At the moment, she said, there are 50 cases concerning the recovery of Turkish Cypriot properties by the guardian to be given to other families, despite that there are close relatives of the deceased wishing to continue living there.

“Our aim is for children and grandchildren of refugees who have passed away, and who had not received any aid, to be entitled (to use) that residence,” Koukouma said.

In the case there are many people wishing to live in the same house, she said, the choice will be made based on socio-economic criteria.

Koukouma expressed disappointment that the state refugee policy is “is based solely on the management of the Turkish Cypriot properties and especially the residences, which are the only ones left to solve the housing problem of the refugees.”

She also said that everyone agreed at their latest meeting that the eviction procedure was unacceptable and problematic.

“Unfortunately, the interior ministry continues to defend this procedure,” she said.

MPs also heard that the interior ministry’s service for the management of Turkish Cypriot property is seriously understaffed and cannot cope with the increased workload they have to tackle.

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