Mass applications for Varosha properties to the immovable properties commission (IPC) would encourage Turkish plans for the fenced-off part of Famagusta and would be the last nail in the coffin of the Cyprus problem, government spokesman Kyriacos Kousios said on Monday.
The spokesman was commenting on the legal advice the government has received from the attorney-general but also experts from abroad on the issue of possible mass applications to the IPC in the north by owners of properties in Varosha.
“According to the legal consultants, mass applications to the IPC do not avert the goals and plans of Turkey and some circles in the occupied areas but rather encourages them,” Kousios told state broadcaster CyBC. He added that such a development would also seriously affect the prospects for settling the Cyprus problem.
“We believe that would be utilised by Turkish side to create such faits accomplis in the closed-off town that it would be the last nail in the coffin of the Cyprus problem,” he said.
Kousios did not elaborate, arguing that it was up to the experts to analyse these positions and that they would be presented soon to the Famagusta municipal council.
IPC is the organisation set up by Turkey and operating in the north as the domestic remedy for claims relating to abandoned properties in the north based on the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
The advice was sought following calls by the Famagusta refugees on advice from the government on what to do after Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots announced that they would open Varosha.
Prominent advocate Achilleas Demetriades with three decades’ experience in defending Greek Cypriot refugees over their property claims to the ECHR had last February called on the owners of around 420 properties along the coastal strip of Varosha to file their claims immediately with the IPC for their right to return. Demetriades had argued that such a move would “offer Varosha refugees a line of defence against Turkey’s greed”.
He had said that Varosha refugees needed to be proactive to avoid finding themselves before faits accompis after Turkey’s announced plans on opening up the fence-off area and bring life to the once bustling beach resort.
Demetriades had said it was obvious Turkey wanted access to the coastal strip of Varosha that spans from the Constantia to the Golden Sands hotels urging owners of coastal properties to seek to return to their properties and the rents that they should have received since 1974 to-date clarifying he was not asking them to sell their properties.
If there was a way to block access to the coastal front, it is possible Turkey would not want to open the whole fenced-off area, Demetriades had said.