The cost of converting Morphou (Guzelyurt) into Turkish Cypriot land would cost 500 million pounds sterling, chairman of the Immovable Property Commission (IPC) Ayfer Erkmen has said.
This was one of the areas discussed in the Cyprus negotiations as a concession by the Turkish Cypriot side. In an article by Turkish Cypriot daily ‘Diyalog’, it was argued that in order for this to happen, the government should pass the improvement tax law and create resources for the payment of compensation to Greek Cypriot who owned property in North Cyprus.
Chairman of the IPC Ayfer Erkmen, told the newspaper the total of area of Morfou is 270 thousand donums and that 365 Greek Cypriot applications have been submitted to the IPC for 50 thousand donums of this land. “If at the first stage we conclude these 365 files, one fifth of Morfou’s land would pass to the Turkish title deed department”, he argued, claiming that after this development, other Greek Cypriot former residents of Morfou will also take action.
He describe allegations in the Greek Cypriot press that the IPC was invalid as “groundless”. Erkmen argued that compensation payments continue and will be intensified after the IPC budget is approved. The IPC chairman said, “The court does not pay money. It takes decisions. Their execution depends on the government. It is true that there is a slowdown in the payments. The cost of the 166 decisions which have been taken, is around 76 million pounds sterling and this is still pending. We were told that these payments would be made as soon as the budget was passed.”
Noting that 22 applications were filed during the last month, Erkmen said that £12.2 million had been granted to the IPC in the budget which is “very little money”. “With these numbers, the cost of the 166 awards can be paid in five years”, he noted adding that Turkey has brought onto the agenda the ‘improvement tax’ in order for these payments to be made. He said that during the government’s recent visit to Ankara, the proportion of 15% was discussed regarding this tax.
Arguing that the information that Greek Cypriots sell their TRNC properties to EU citizens is correct, Erkmen said that the Greek Cypriot properties total one million 463 thousand donums and that applications for approximately 8% of this immovable property have been filed with the IPC. He added that priority should be given to the compensation of property and added that 51% of the 365 applications filed for Morfou area were completed. He said:
“The more land that is ‘Turkified’, the right of the Greek Cypriot side to demand land in the north will be abolished. Especially Morfou. It is an area of 48 thousand 393 donums. This must be bought immediately. We must start primarily with Morfou. The Greek Cypriots continuously make a call for the return of Morfou. If we Turkify it the soonest, Morfou will also be lifted from the negotiating table. After they sell their property, why should the Greek Cypriots come to the north??”