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Mayor of Paphos lashes out over ‘misuse’ of TC properties

Paphos mayor Phedonas Phedonos

The mayor of Paphos has hit back at MPs and other attendees at Tuesday’s session of the House refugee committee, calling them out for ‘political cannibalism’ and ‘personal insults’ in the long-running row over the use of Turkish Cypriot properties.

The committee is overstepping the mark for political reasons and going far beyond its role in exercising parliamentary control, Phedonas Phedonos said on Wednesday.

“I have been informed that during yesterday’s session there was political cannibalism towards my person with insults, unpleasant characterisations and unsubstantiated accusations from both members of the committee and guests,” he said.

MPs on Tuesday lambasted Phedonos for the way he was handling the issue of management of Turkish Cypriot properties in his municipality.

Head of the committee, Akel MP Skevi Koukouma, said the meeting had to be interrupted as tensions rose.

She said the Paphos mayor has intervened in Turkish Cypriot properties, doing specific projects without the approval of the interior ministry. She added that most of the members of the advisory committee managing these properties opposed the Paphos municipality’s request to take over some residences that had been granted to refugees.

The Greens said the mayor had arbitrarily made interventions and demolitions in the Osman Efendi area before any decision was taken by the managing authority.

But Phedonos struck back on Wednesday.

“It is obvious that an alliance of parties and some guests are annoyed because I have created serious problems in recent years to the ‘system’ they had set up for decades, in relation to the concession and use of Turkish Cypriot property in the service of party and personal interests,” he said.

He said he would release photos “showing in which state the buildings were left and in what an excellent condition we have brought them to as a municipality by giving them back to people through open and transparent procedures without party and other interventions.”

He recalled a recent municipal decision to renovate the old Turkish Cypriot inn on Fellahoglou street.

“We see our city and its centre alive and beautiful again,” he said, alleging that opposition came from those whose interests were affected.

Phedonos reiterated that some have made careers and fortunes through the distribution and exploitation of Turkish Cypriot properties. Others, he said, have sought and secured their participation in the advisory committee, while at the same owning hundreds of acres of Turkish Cypriot land.

“The most provocative thing is that they are not even refugees,” he said.

If the House legislates that municipalities are not entitled to lease Turkish Cypriot land, he said: “If they want, they can tear up all the works and parking lots, take them back and give them to refugees on party grounds.”






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