Private deals are being brokered by agencies for the sale of Greek Cypriot properties in the fenced-in city of Varosha, President of the Hoteliers’ Association (Pasyxe) Haris Loizides said on Tuesday.

Speaking on CyBC, Loizides said that in view of the case which recently came to light where three hotels have been sold to a Turkish Cypriot businessman, the association held a meeting attended by Famagusta municipality reps and lawyer Achilleas Demetriades, whose role was to update attendees on the status of legal court cases concerning various properties.

Loizides confirmed that real estate agencies, most run by Greek Cypriots, are brokering deals and acting as middlemen for owners of Varosha properties, though none of these deals have materialised so far.

A seven-member committee drawn from the hotel association has been set up to approach authorities and discuss ways to encourage owners to not sell their properties in the occupied city, Loizides said.

He emphasised that the recent sales attempt, which commentators in the north have said may lead to legal amendments, could set a troublesome precedent.

“Time is ticking” for owners who have been waiting for 50 years to see a return of their properties, Loizides added, pointing out that most of them left Varosha as children and are now in their 60s and 70s.

The seven-member committee will shortly make contact with state officials to discuss the situation and find incentives to prevent such property sales, Loizides said.