More than 80 Greek Cypriots sought compensation from the north’s immovable property commission (IPC) to the tune of £1bn sterling for homes and businesses in the closed off area of Varosha, reports said on Tuesday.
Turkish Cypriot news portal Star Kibris citing ‘ruling’ National Unity Party’s ‘MP’ Ozughan Hasipoglu said that so far 281 Greek Cypriot owners of property in Varosha filed applications with the IPC. Of these, 193 want their properties back while the rest requested compensation to the tune of £1.2bn (€1.33bn), Hasipoglu reportedly said.
The IPC was set up by Turkey and operates in the north as the domestic remedy for claims relating to Greek Cypriot properties in the north.
Hasipoglu, who is carrying out technical studies for the reopening of Varosha, said that this will be done is phases, adding that those who want their properties back were identified.
He said the first phase will start from the area where the Palm Beach hotel is located, right next to the closed off area.
Hasipoglu also said that reactions to the intended reopening of Varosha, which has been closed and left to decay in the salty, sea breeze since 1974, come from those who are in favour of the federal solution.
He argued that the reopening of Varosha is not in the best interest of those people who still believe the federation is the way to go and want to “condemn” the two sides for eternity to the negotiations table. He reportedly said opening Varosha would help Turkish Cypriots stand on their own two feet.
Hasipoglu also said that opening Varosha was not contrary to the UN resolutions but rather the Turkish Cypriot side would be applying the 1984 UN resolution which calls for the return of these properties to their owners.
The UN Security Council that adopted resolution 550 on Varosha in 1984, said that “attempts to settle any part of Varosha by people other than its inhabitants is inadmissible” while it “calls for the transfer of this area to the administration of the United Nations.”
The ‘government’ in the north, however, has repeatedly said Famagusta’s closed off area of Varosha would reopen under Turkish Cypriot administration.