A Turkish Cypriot with American citizenship has been awarded €345,000 in compensation for loss of use of his property in Limassol and also had ownership of the property returned to him.
Orhan Huseyin Dervish had initially filed a lawsuit against the Republic of Cyprus in 2013 at the Limassol district court against the attorney general and the interior minister regarding properties he owned in the Ayia Triada and Camicedit neighbourhoods.
The court ordered that Dervish be paid €310,000 plus legal interest at two per cent per annum from June 22, 2022 until payment, as well as legal costs totalling just over €20,000.
It was pointed out in court that as Dervish had left Cyprus before independence, he had never become a citizen of the Republic of Cyprus. As a result, it was ruled that his properties had been wrongly handed over to the Republic’s Guardian of Turkish Cypriot properties post 1974.
The property will now be returned to Dervish, with the €345,000 compensation package approved by cabinet and now awaiting ratification in parliament.
Dervish’s payout is the latest in a series of cases regarding Turkish Cypriots and their descendants who own property in the Republic but never became citizens.
In 2016, the Larnaca district court ruled that the ‘Mackenzie Estate’ had been built illegally as its legal owner, Fikret Ali Riza, had moved to the United Kingdom in 1951 and never claimed Cypriot citizenship.
Riza’s son Reymond, born in England in 1955, took legal action demanding the property be returned and damages be paid.
Turkish Cypriots who were in Cyprus in and after 1974 are often ineligible to make claim to property they may own in the south as they received Greek Cypriot-owned land in the north.
However, those who demonstrably did not receive any property nor were ever citizens are entitled to reacquire their land and receive compensation from the Republic.
In April, the Cyprus Mail reported that there are 150 similar cases before the courts with another 100 requests being made to the guardian of Turkish Cypriot properties (the interior minister).