Over 9,500 foreigners have purchased properties in the north in the past four years, Turkish Cypriot media reported on Friday.

The number of foreigners granted the right to buy properties in the occupied areas between January 2019 and November 2023 has reached a total of 9,699, Yeni Duzen reported.

But the majority of these purchases took place this year.

Within just the first ten months of 2023, the ‘government’ issued 4,569 such permits through decisions of the ‘ministerial council.’ Only on Wednesday, with a single decision, the ‘ministerial council’ approved 283 such permits.

During the period 2019-2022, a total of 5,130 permits were granted to foreigners. According to the data published in the ‘official gazette,’ in 2019 the ‘ministerial council’ granted purchasing rights to 1,141 foreigners, increasing to 1,179 in 2021 and to 2,810 in 2022. By October 2023, this number had reached 4,569.

RTP ‘MP’ Dogus Derya, who had submitted a relevant question in the ‘parliament,’ told Yeni Duzen that the ‘interior minister’ Dursun Oguz, responded that out of the above permits granted to foreigners, only 35 per cent have property titles along with the purchase permit.

However, the report mentions that it is unknown how many acres of land, properties, or houses correspond to these permits for foreigners.

Another unknown factor is how many properties were purchased for foreigners through companies with ‘hidden partners.’

The report also states that according to sources from the ‘interior ministry,’ the majority of foreign buyers, who were previously mostly citizens of the Republic of Turkey, have become mainly Russians and Iranians since 2022.

According to available real estate market data, while nearly 90 per cent of the foreigners entitled to acquire immovable property before 2022 were Turkish citizens, this percentage has dropped to 70 per cent in the last year.

However, reports suggest that many more properties have been sold through companies with ‘hidden partners.’ Recently, Greek Cypriot Phileleftheros newspaper claimed that certain multinational companies, to avoid the restricted permits of the ‘ministerial council,’ set up ‘shelf companies’ in the north by finding a citizen of the pseudostate as a partner, thus enabling them to purchase ‘unlimited’ immovable property.

A company can only buy properties in the occupied areas, if 51 per cent belongs to a ‘citizen’ of the north. In the ‘law’ on contractors, it is mandatory for 100 per cent of the company to be in the name of a ‘citizen’.