The National Council warned on Wednesday that possible claims by Varosha refugees to the immovable properties commission (IPC) over their properties carried risks because it furthers Turkey’s goal of partition.

After an around four-hour session, the National Council, chaired by President Nicos Anastasiades, said in a statement that it discussed developments after Tuesday’s “unacceptable and illegal announcements by the Turkish side to change the status of part of the enclosed city of Famagusta, while urging Greek Cypriots who want to, to turn to the so-called commission.”

The National Council said in a statement it was briefed by Anastasiades and the foreign minister on all the steps taken by the Republic. Views were exchanged, and proposals were submitted by the parties over further course of action which the government will study.

The president’s top advisory body reiterated its joint position that the change of status of part of the fenced area of Famagusta from military to civilian, is a clear violation of the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, in particular resolutions 550 (1984) and 789 (1992) which call for the immediate transfer of the area under United Nations administration. “These announcements crucially affect the prospects for the resumption of negotiations for a comprehensive settlement based on United Nations resolutions on Cyprus, international law, principles and values of the European Union,” it said.

The National Council said that Turkey’s goal with the new announcements is to further advance its plans to finalise the island’s partition.

Referring to the refugees, the statement said that “without ignoring the principle that respect for the individual right to property is a given and that no one can prevent the exercise of this right, the National Council notes that the possibility of appealing to the so-called Commission carries serious risks in relation to Turkey’s goals.”

It also called for unity in the effort to address Turkey’s new partitionist plans.

Anastasiades convened an extraordinary session of the National Council after the announcement that 3.5 per cent of the fenced area of Varosha would be demilitarised and property owners could come forth and claim their rights through the IPC, set up by Turkey in the north as a domestic remedy to the properties issue.

Present at the National Council were also House president Annita Demetriou, former President Giorgos Vassiliou and attorney-general Giorgos Savvides. Negotiator Andreas Mavroyiannis and head of the president’s diplomatic office Kyriacos Kouros also attended the meeting.

Speaking after the meeting, Greens’ leader Charalambos Theopemptou said his party would not brand as traitors anyone claiming their properties by all the legal means at their disposal.

“But we clearly condemn Erdogan’s unilateral move, as a clear attempt to instrumentalise the Varosha refugees with the ultimate goal of further exploiting and integrating Varosha into the pseudo-state,” he said.

Theopemptou added that if the government truly believes that applications to the IPC could affect the overall solution of the territory issue, it ought to introduce refugee support procedures through alternative mechanisms or offer substantive support to cases handled by the European Court of Human Rights to prevent such an eventuality.

The Greens’ leader also said he was against proposals tabled by some leaders such as unilateral closure of crossings or preventing Turkish Cypriots from acquiring passports and IDs of the Republic.