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“Watch Your Way
Anyone hunting for a bargain buy in Turkish occupied Cyprus should think about how the new EU accession bill affects them.

Following the Turkish invasion of 1974 and the forced eviction of more than 170,000 Greek Cypriots - now approximately, 220,000 counting children - from their ancestral homes, and the illegal occupation of 36,4% of the Republic of Cyprus’s territory, the Turkish occupation regime placed the properties of dispossessed owners at the disposal of its own "authorities," the Turkish military, and ordinary Turkish Cypriots.

After the commencement of Turkey’s organised colonisation of occupied Cyprus in late 1974 many such properties were handed over to Turkish mainland settlers. The distribution of properties was also used by the Turkish Cypriot leadership to “buy off” political influence both within and without the Turkish Cypriot community.

In the eyes of the law, approximately 82% of the privately owned land in the occupied areas was owned by Greek Cypriots, while the Turkish Cypriots owned approximately 16.7%. Therefore, it is very important to note that any purchase of property in that part of Cyprus is in jeopardy since it is legally owned by Greek Cypriot refugees who were forced to flee in 1974 in order to save their lives from the invading Turkish forces.

Cypriot authorities state that 'any investment of immovable property in the occupied area is insecure and any investor runs the risk to be brought before justice by the legal owners of that property. Entering into a contract for the purchase of such property in the area under Turkish military occupation that belong to Greek Cypriots, constitutes an illegal act which will expose the purchaser to grave legal and financial consequences.'

Based on such case law Greek Cypriots who own property in the occupied area, remain, at all times, the rightful legal owners of such property and their rights stand unaffected. So if you are thinking of buying a cut-price property in occupied Cyprus, think again. The majority of indigenous Turkish-Cypriots possess passports and other travelling documents of the legitimate and internationally recognised Republic of Cyprus, highlighting the fact that the vast majority of Turkish-Cypriots recognise the Republic of Cyprus as their legitimate Governement.

Furthermore, they fully expose the illegality of the expropriation of Greek Cypriot properties in the occupied area and the risks to anyone who is tempted to enter into illegal transactions regarding such properties. Purchasers run the risk of being sued at any time by the Greek Cypriot owners, before the Courts of the Republic of Cyprus, as indicated by the case of Mr. Meletios Apostolides, a displaced person from the occupied village of Lapithos.

Those considering buying property in the occupied territory of Cyprus, should bear in mind that the accession of the Republic of Cyprus to the E.U. will offer lawful owners of property in the occupied territory, who continue to be prevented from enjoying their property rights, to seek redress and safeguard those rights through the European legal system.