A number of Turkish Cypriot newspapers have published a paid announcement signed by Dr. Ibrahim Benter, general director of EVKAF religious foundation’s administration, under the title “Closed Varosha is EVKAF property. EVKAF has to receive billions of euros”.
In the article Dr. Benter explains what is meant by foundation property and by usurpation of this property.
“During archive works, a study of all the foundation properties was carried out from 1571 until 1974”, he says noting that “2,443 records, 13,000 files and 8 million documents were studied. Twenty million pieces of data were extracted and all these studies were stored on computer”, he notes, adding that 744GB of information exist including 424,000 documents and images in digital form.
“When anyone tells us about a plot of land in Varosha or elsewhere, by entering it into the computer, we can see the processes through which this plot passed over the years”, he says and adds: “Originally, everybody agrees that all of Varosha belongs to the foundations of Abdullah Pasa, Lala Mustafa Pasa and Bilal Aga. Where does the disagreement come from? We say that the properties, which during the British administration were changed from being foundation properties and were transferred to the Greeks and the Church, had been transferred in a manner contrary to the law. Those who have the opposite view say that these procedures are not contrary to the law”.
Afterwards he refers to a case filed by the inhabitants of Tersefanou village in 1955 for a property called the ‘Tersefanou Farm’, arguing that the Court then had decided in favour of the EVKAF and that this decision constituted a precedent.
According to Benter, in 1960, after instructions by the then Vice President of the Republic of Cyprus Dr Fazil Kucuk, lawsuits were filed against the Republic for the EVKAF’s properties, but the lawsuits were annulled because of the 1963 incidents [Intercommunal strife].
Benter also asserts that the British administration had admitted that it had paid low rents for EVKAF properties and later paid the Turkish administration 1.5 million pounds sterling for repairing these buildings. “The above-mentioned signed text is mentioned as ‘Appendix U’ in the 1960 agreement and in this text it describes for what this money had been given”, he points out.
Referring to what the EVKAF wants, he says: “The institution, which has the largest amount property in Cyprus, over the years had been weakened so that it could not pay the salaries of its employees and repair its properties, because of the usurpation properties and the loss of rents. The compensations for the usurped EVKAF properties since the beginning of the 1900’s should be paid and the properties should be returned. We refer to income and loss of property worth billions of euros”.