Turkish Cypriot ‘prime minister’ Unal Ustel said on Wednesday the Greek Cypriot lobby have been “launching attacks” on the north’s real estate market.

“I have observed that recently there have been organised and unfounded brutal attacks, especially on the part of the Greek Cypriot lobby, against the TRNC real estate market and financial system,” he said.

He added, “worse still, the discourses some among us have developed for the sake of opposition, without thinking about the fate of the country, are very displeasing.”

“Unfortunately, this baseless rhetoric expressed in the name of opposition to the government both feeds the Greek Cypriot lobby, which constantly criticises us, and enables unfair news to be written about our country,” he said.

“This country is not derelict. With an amendment to the regulation on land registry fees, we transferred £5 million (€5.8m) to the Immovable Property Commission in a short time. This funding will continue to increase,” he said.

He added, “I understand the Greek Cypriot lobby’s discomfort on the issue, and I know their discomfort levels will only increase. We must fight together, both the government and the opposition, to take the right precautions and take realistic steps against this.”

“The TRNC, with all its institutions, is closely following the developments in the real estate sector and is continuing its fight against crime and dark money in a strong and determined manner,” he said.

However, he emphasised his satisfaction with the fact that many from abroad are willing to buy property in the north.

“There are multiple factors which attract people to purchase property in the TRNC. We are aware that there is intense interest from buyers due to our country’s many advantages, especially its peacefulness and its safety,” he said.

“Since every sale is recorded with title deeds, buyers feel extremely safe. Since the TRNC’s legal system provides this trust, buyers’ interest is increasing,” he added.

Ustel’s comments come after a flurry of media and political interest in property sales in the north. It was reported earlier this month that over 9,500 third country nationals had purchased properties in the north in the last four years.

With interest on the rise, prices are also increasing, with reports surfacing that two-bedroom apartments in new high-rise developments in the Trikomo area are selling for upwards of £200,000 (€231,150).

Meanwhile, others have raised concerns that the Trikomo area is being “suffocated” with the intense development and construction which has taken place there in recent years.

Last week, Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said he would “raise the issue” of Israeli nationals buying property in the north with the Turkish Cypriot authorities, adding that the Turkish national security service MIT is looking into the matter.

Following this statement, the north’s ‘interior minister’ Dursun Oguz told ‘parliament’ that he was preparing legislation which would curb the rate at which third country nationals are buying property in the north.

However, a spokesperson for the north’s ‘interior ministry’ told the Cyprus Mail that specific details regarding the legislation are not yet available.