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Property, territory and guarantees are the thorniest issues

4 August 2015

Foreign Minister Emine Çolak has said that the issue of property, territory and guarantees were the most problematic issues of in the Cyprus problem.

She said that the solution of these problems had been left to the end of the current negotiations process.

Speaking on BRT this morning, Ms Çolak said the aim of finding a solution to the property issues would be to satisfy both sides.

“The property issue will be solved on the basis of criteria which will ensure that no one suffers or is aggrieved”, Çolak said.

She however added that the decisions and rulings of the European Court of Humans Rights needed to be respected.

“However discussions on these issues, as Mr Akıncı has stated, are still continuing and have not been finalised” she said.

On the issue of the UK’s stance on the guarantees, the Foreign Minister said that the British government supported the ongoing process on the island despite keeping its distance from the talks.

Stating that the two sides had started the negotiations on areas where they could reach agreement the easiest, Çolak said:

“This was the right strategy in terms of creating a positive atmosphere. The property, territory and guarantees issues are the stickiest. We need to assess the situation on both sides. There are properties on which people have constructed their families and lives on. People are worried they will be forced or kicked off the properties currently in their possession. Of course we can’t make everything public but lack of information causes fear and concern”.

Çolak also pointed out that when it came to solving the property dispute, the interests and positions of both parties will be taken into account.

“It’s not like the will of only one of the two sides will be respected”, she said.

Pointing out that there was no such thing as global exchange, Foreign Minister Çolak reminded that the ECHR states that property disputes can be settled through compensation, exchange and restitution.

“These have different criteria. All cases will be individually examined and will be solved on the basis of pre-determined principles. It’s important that we balance the individual’s right to property and the rights of the current user of the property”.

Çolak explained that there will be a series of criteria on which property cases will be settled and then there will be a mechanism which will implement the criteria in question.

She however added that an extensive study was needed into how the properties in the North were in use.

“What have we done with Greek Cypriot properties? Did we hand out these properties in exchange for properties left in the South? First of all we need to do our homework on this. Then we have to ask the question as to how all these properties will be financed. Who will bear the cost? Would it be fair to demand compensation from the current user? All these issues will be evaluated. Perhaps we might find international funds for the property issue”, Çolak said.

In response to a question regarding the TRNC’s Immovable Property Commission, Çolak said that millions of pounds sterling in compensation had been paid out by the commission over the past 10 years.

She however added that there were a number of applicants who were unhappy with the commission’s ruling and had applied to the ECHR.

“Some of the cases have been settled but the compensations have yet to be paid”, she added.

The Foreign Minister also said that there were efforts being made to solve the outstanding problems at the commission.

Kibris Postasi

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