By Nikolaos Prakas and Iole Damaskinos

 

There is nothing for the government to investigate, Interior Minister Constantinos Ioannou said on Thursday about the sale of properties in Varosha last week, citing that the documents that were notarised are private sale agreements.

“It is a sale agreement, which has been notarised by a notary public, and has not been submitted to the land registry department,” he said.

Last week, reports in the north said that the Cleo Hotel, the Golden Seaside Apartment Hotel, the Aegean Hotel, and two apartment building floors to be used as housing for hotel staff, were sold to an unnamed Turkish Cypriot businessman by their Greek Cypriot owners, through official procedures in the state-controlled areas as well as the immovable property commission (IPC) in the north.

The sale document has been notarised in the state-controlled areas by the district administration in Nicosia.

Earlier reports on Thursday in Yeni Bakis said that the businessman had submitted the sale documents to the IPC.

Commenting, the minister said: “The interior ministry has not been asked to approve this [sale] document.

“Since it has not been filed in the land registry, we as the interior ministry cannot do anything else. There is nothing to investigate.”

He added that as far as the sale deed is concerned, it is a private deal that the interior ministry is not authorised to get involved in.

Ioannou said that the ministry has been in contact with the attorney-general’s office to see what legal measures can be taken if and when there are developments on the matter.

According to the report in the north in the morning, the businessman had submitted an application to the IPC on Wednesday.

The report published the document submitted to the IPC, where the properties’ addresses are listed, but the names of their owners have been redacted.

The Turkish Cypriot businessman said that if there is no obstacle, he will start accepting reservations for 2025 for the hotels in two months’ time.

Meanwhile on Wednesday, IPC chairman, Novber Ferit Vehci stated that no sales transaction had been made for the three hotels in Varosha.

Turkish Cypriot newspaper Yeni Duzen reported at the time that Vehci maintained she did not receive any official request regarding the purchase.

According to the report, 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’ in the north has no authority to approve such sales, as Varosha is under military rule, such a sale is not possible.

Famagusta Mayor, 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 the Cyprus issue, and the fact that people were losing hope and acting out of conditions of financial hardship.

“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 issue, 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.

Speaking following a meeting with Foreign Minister Constantinos Kombos, 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.