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IPC legal anomalies unfair to Turkish Cypriots

25 February 2015

Following a report yesterday that legal anomalies existed in the operation of the Immoveable Property Commission (IPC), leader of the UBP Huseyin Ozgurgun said that these issues had already been noted.

Ozgurgun said that, at the time, they had opposed the establishment of this Commission and had already pointed out that it did not comply with the constitution. He said that they had brought the issue to the Constitutional Court because they believed that such anomalies that could occur.

The UBP leader said that the property issue was like Varosha and could only be part of a comprehensive solution. He added that the Commission was mostly working for the interests of the Greek Cypriots rather than the Turkish Cypriots who still owned properties in the South.

Noting that the ECHR had recognised the decisions of the Commission, Ozgurgun said he did not see legal anomalies being a problem in the long run; no issues had come to light until now as the process was carried out with the approval of all parties.

The IPC was established in 2006 in order to provide an “effective internal legal structure” dealing with the property cases.

However, legal experts warn that certain legal anomalies can crop up. For example, a Turkish Cypriot living in a Greek Cypriot property which had either been purchased from another party or the house had been given as compensation for property the Turkish Cypriot had lost in the South, could remain unaware of the fact that the Greek Cypriot owner of the house may have filed an application to the Commission and demanded compensation for their house. The Turkish Cypriot who has been given the title deeds of the house by North Cyprus authorities after 1974, is not considered as the third party in the case.

On the other hand, according to a former Turkish Cypriot minister who spoke to ‘Kıbrıs Postasi’ about potential problems that could arise from the operations of the IPC, compensation payments were also an issue between Turkish Cypriots and the Turkish authorities.

The former minister who wished to remain anonymous, said that in cases where compensation was paid by banks, banks get the title deeds of the property. “This issue was brought to discussion by Turkish bureaucrats who clearly said that Turkey would not continue to sponsor the Commission for every case” said the former minister who also referred a model of practice which was developed by an American property expert brought to Cyprus by Alexander Downer.

The newspaper asked the manager of Ziraat Bankası, Mahmut Demirci if his bank paid the compensation, what would be the likely outcome in such a case? Demirci said that if his bank pays compensation for a Greek Cypriot property, the title deeds then become the bank’s property. “If the current residents of the house should wish to buy the house from our bank we would give them long term loans”, he said.

In light of the background information, the newspaper asked the authorities to clarify whether or note closed cases meant Turkish Cypriots would have to pay for the same house a second time.

Another question the report asked was whether or not it was true that Turkish Banks have started to acquire Greek Cypriot properties in the North. Almost every legal expert the newspaper spoke to, admitted that legal anomalies are present in the operations of the IPC and that its law contradicts the TRNC’s constitution.

Source Kibris Postasi

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