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No sales transaction for hotels in Varosha, IPC chair says

ghost town of famagusta in cyprus
File photo: Varosha

No sales transaction was made for the three hotels in Varosha through the immovable property commission, its ‘chairman’, Novber Ferit Vehci was reported as having stated on Wednesday.

As reported in Turkish Cypriot newspaper Yeni Duzen, Vehci maintained that she did not receive any official request from a Turkish Cypriot businessman regarding the purchase of the hotels.

The claim, made on a Turkish Cypriot news website last week, was that Cleo Hotel, the Golden Seaside Apartment Hotel, the Aegean Hotel, and two apartment building floors were sold to an unknown Turkish Cypriot businessman by their Greek Cypriot owners, through official procedures in the state-controlled areas and the immovable property commission (IPC) in the north.

The Republic’s authorities on Friday attempted to get to the bottom of the reports about the sale of the three hotels in the fenced off part of the city.

According to Yeni Duzen, the IPC chair also said she did not know whether the sale was by deed or contract, and that regardless, such an agreement cannot be considered legal.

Additionally, the ‘interior ministry’ has no authority to approve such sales, the latest report stated, pointing out that since Varosha is under military rule, such a sale is not possible.

The mayor of Famagusta, Simos Ioannou, among those responding to the incident on Tuesday, said the municipality had been warning for a long time about the consequences of continued inaction on the matter of Varosha, and the fact that people were losing hope and acting out of conditions of financial hardship.

The mayor said the issue is first of all moral and political and its legitimacy was a secondary concern.

“As a municipality we have been warning for a long time about what the developments will be and it seems that the main reason is this continuous inaction on the Cyprus problem, which gives people the feeling that there is no longer a solution, as a result of which some are forced, either for financial or other reasons, to sell their properties,” he said.

Foreign Minister Constantinos Kombos, speaking following a meeting with Ioannou, said the sale of the properties in Varosha undermines the Greek Cypriot position on the territory aspect of the Cyprus problem.

However, he added, there are humanitarian issues in which the municipality cannot get involved.

Councillors are expected to hold further meetings with the minister in the coming days to discuss the issue.

Meanwhile, main opposition parties Disy and Akel called on the government to get moving on the Cyprus talks, as there has been stagnation for too long.

The issue was also raised at a House refugee committee session, where the head of the central body of equal distribution of burdens, which manages refugee losses, Akis Pouros said that Turkey’s goal is to take advantage of the IPC to change the territorial majority to which the state currently holds claim.

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