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More than €250,000 spent to police disputed Turkish Cypriot property

The state spent more than a quarter of a million euro from the fund for Turkish Cypriot properties for the policing of Ktima Makenzy, an events venue that was demolished last year after a long court dispute over irregularities on its leasing, it emerged on Tuesday.

The issue was raised by head of the House refugees committee Akel MP Skevi Koukouma during a meeting where MPs were briefed on the programme for the maintenance of Turkish Cypriot properties.

Koukouma, citing her own information, said that in total €256,000 was used from the budget of the service managing Turkish Cypriot properties for policing the property.

Though she could not say the exact period for which the police services were used, Koukouma told the Cyprus Mail €156,000 has been paid to the police, while the payment of the rest was pending or may have been paid.

“That money could be used for the repair of some refugees’ houses in the Larnaca district,” Koukouma added.

The Akel MP said she has asked for more information on the case.

Koukouma said after the end of the committee meeting that the €6m given each year for the upkeep of Turkish Cypriot properties used by refugees is not enough given that these buildings are at least over 50 years old and have been left to fall into disrepair.

“No matter how many restorations take place within the next one to two years, nothing will change,” she said. “The living conditions of refugees in Turkish Cypriot properties are unacceptable”.

She also said that the committee feels that they and the refuges are being led on since each time the issue is discussed they are being told a study is being carried out.

“Studies that started years ago have been thrown in the bin and now they tell us that a new study will be carried which will concern a pilot programme for Nicosia within the walls while we know that the situation is unacceptable throughout Cyprus,” she said.

Diko MP Charalambos Pittikopitis too said the living conditions of refugees who stay in Turkish Cypriot houses are “unacceptable and third-world like.”

Events venue Ktima Makenzy in Larnaca was demolished last year after a long court dispute. Court ordered the interior ministry as the guardian of Turkish Cypriot properties to demolish the premises that were standing on land thought to be Turkish Cypriot property and was leased as such to individuals who built the business in question.

The dispute emerged after the son of the owner of the property, a Turkish Cypriot man who migrated to the UK in 1951 and a British passport holder, filed a lawsuit against the state and the guardian of Turkish Cypriot properties. The property was deemed by the government as abandoned Turkish Cypriot land and came under the guardian but the court ruled that the case in question does not concern Turkish Cypriot property, but a property that was registered and occupied by a British national.

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