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North’s ‘interior minister’ pledges to restrict property sales to third-country nationals

North property, property purchases, housing, Turkish Cypriots
File photo

The north’s ‘interior minister’ Dursun Oguz said on Thursday he plans to bring in new restrictions to curb the rate at which third-country nationals are buying property.

Speaking to ‘parliament’, he explained that the ‘government’ is preparing new law regarding the purchase of property by third-country nationals, which will be submitted to the chief public prosecutor’s office on Friday.

Additionally, he said a law regarding estate agents had been drafted with the aim of codifying the required conduct regarding “dark money”.

He added that the north has a “serious problem” with real estate being purchased by third-country nationals through contracts and companies.

However, opposition party CTP Leader Tufan Erhurman was less than convinced by the substance of the draft bill.

He pointed out that the ‘government’ had granted ‘TRNC’ citizenship to a third country national “just because he was a shareholder of a company”, and that therefore even with this new law, third-country nationals would still find it relatively easy to buy new property.

“What was the reason for this person to become a citizen? Being a shareholder in a company. Nothing else … As soon as someone gets their citizenship, they will build and sell and buy as much property as their hearts content.”

To this end, he highlighted the requirement that companies in the north must all be at least 51 per cent-owned by Turkish Cypriots, and said “actually, many companies do not work like this. They plough in foreign capital, find a malleable partner, and run their own business.”

Oguz’s promise of a new law comes a day after Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan had said he would “raise the issue” of Israelis buying property in the north with the Turkish Cypriot authorities.

He told Turkey’s Parliamentary Budget Committee that his ministry is “looking into” the allegations and that the Turkish national security service MIT is also “following” the matter.

Earlier on Thursday in ‘parliament’, Erhurman had also spoken about the issue of the north’s population, saying “I wonder what you will say about the north’s population. The Guardian wrote that 39,000 Russians began to reside in the north of Cyprus in just one year.”

“If 39,000 are only Russians, how any Iranians, how many Ukrainians, how many Kazakhs? What is the number when you put them side by side? The population from what you called a projection is apparently around 390,000. Add in these numbers, 499,000, then? I’m not even talking about students or refugees, I’m not counting unregistered foreign workers,” he said.

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