A new Turkish plan can see the opening of the fenced off city of Famagusta to its expelled Greek Cypriot inhabitants under Turkish Cypriot authority.
The four-point plan discussed between Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci earlier this week revolves around Famagusta, the Maronite community, the ‘Compensation Committee’ and the ‘embargo’.
The Turkish plan as reported by Turkish Cypriot media includes:
- A study to open the fenced off area of Famagusta (in some reports it is stated that the area should be opened to allow Greek Cypriots back but under the control of the Turkish Cypriot authorities).
- To start procedures allowing Maronites to return to their properties in the north. (The issue has been broached before but has never been implemented)
- The Immovable Property Commission will intensify its work and find resources to compensate Greek Cypriots.
- Efforts to lift the embargo imposed on Turkish Cypriots. (Efforts attempted in the past were without result.
Although the Immovable Property Commission’s term is set to expire at the end of the year, it is unclear if Turkey will renew it.
An estimated 6,330cases have been submitted to the Immovable Property Commission by Greek Cypriots and only a few have been reviewed and settled with a total of €270 million.
Lawyer Achilleas Demetriades has voiced the opinion that the government should take initiatives with regards to the issue of properties especially since the collapse of negotiations at the Swiss resort Crans-Montana earlier this month.
“We can’t wait and hope that Turkey’s moves will not be bad. I think we need to take the initiative,” he said.
Adding that many of the refugees have died and that their properties have passed on to their heirs, it would be wise to ensure that the heirs have ensured that the title deeds are in order.
“We need to see that people have their names on title deeds that belonged to their relatives that have since died,” added Demetriades.