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Turkish Cypriot property being ‘misused in Polis’

polis chrysochous bay by albert stoecker 1
Polis Chrysochous (photo: Albert Stoecker)

Lawmakers on Tuesday heard about shady practices in the area of Polis, where Turkish Cypriot land is reportedly being used for growing crops in ‘under the table’ transactions between lessees and farmers.

Nikos Kettiros, chair of the House refugees committee, spoke of around 16,000 decares of land around the village of Polis that are being cultivated without a lease. Those cultivating the lands do so illegally, for example by subletting to others, while at the same time pocketing a subsidy from the Agricultural Payments Organisation (Koap).

A decare is equal to 1,000m². Koap pays out a subsidy of €25 per decare.

“The scammers are onto them [Koap], they do whatever they like,” Kettiros remarked.

The Akel MP cited the case of a person who permanently resides in England, has a lease on a tract of Turkish Cypriot land, but then “someone on their own went there arbitrarily and is cultivating the land, with no lease, no contract, and he collects [the subsidy] from Koap.”

An official from Koap confirmed to legislators that this sort of practice is going on.

Kettiros said the committee has asked the Turkish Cypriot Properties Management Service as well as Koap to investigate the matter to find out whether the individuals getting the subsidy are in fact the farmers cultivating the land.

The MP also spoke of cases of persons who hold large tracts of Turkish Cypriot land legally – in other words, they hold a lease – but sublet the land through ‘under the table’ deals, so that they collect the €25 subsidy while the farmer gets to use the land without paying any rent.

For his part, Dipa MP Michalis Yiakoumi said these lands should be used by refugees and displaced persons. He called for an on-site visit to the area by MPs.

Elaborating on the issues faced by Greek Cypriot refugees, Kettiros voiced dissatisfaction with the fact that there were no references to refugees or a plan of action for them in President Nikos Christodoulides’ ‘State of the Republic’ speech a day earlier.

Likewise, the Pancyprian Union of Refugees, summoned to parliament, said the 28 pages of policy plans read out by the president contained not a single instance of the word ‘refugee’.

 

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