The British Residents’ Society (BRS) held a meeting in Kyrenia on Thursday to brief the hundreds of expats who attended on a meeting it held with President Akinci.
The BRS held a meeting with President Akinci earlier this month to express the expat community’s grave concerns regarding property rights and the formation of a new property commission.
Government liaison officer Mike Maternghan said: “Property is at the centre of our hearts and is the centre of negotiations. We had a meeting with Mr Akinci at great length and put forward our concerns, on behalf of all property owners.
We asked whether all would be treated equally in resolving the property issue, to which Mr Akinci reassured us that non-TRNC nationals would be treated in the same manner.”
Maternghan continued: “We informed the president of the German example following World War II, where property issues were settled primarily through compensation over a period of 20 to 30 years, which was facilitated by the German government.
I also found it interesting that he continuously referred to ‘Turkish Cypriots’ and ‘Greek Cypriots’. There are no derailed detailed criteria yet for non-Cypriots on both sides of the island. We are asking for equal rights and treatment.”
Mr Akinci, he added is a “very generous and honest man”, Maternghan told the meeting. Noting that he had also pointed out to the president the “major contribution” British residents had made to the TRNC economy. He said that Akinci had reassured him that all TRNC title deeds would be “honoured”.
He asked: “Who will fund a settlement? Billions of dollars will be needed. It will not be us. Mr Akinci made it very clear that the money must be found before a referendum, these are his words, not mine. It is imperative that the finances of a settlement are calculated properly and found before a referendum.”
BRS deputy chairman and ‘Cyprus Today’ columnist Stephen Day said the two sides in Cyprus “were still in deep disagreement” over the property issue.
“It is true that agreement has been reached to form a new property commission. But the Turkish Cypriots want it to operate as the current immovable property commission, which successfully handle Greek Cypriot applications and provides adequate remedies in compensating them”, he said.
“But the Greek Cypriots, on the other hand, want the new property commission to accept the former Greek Cypriot owner as having the first right of say. The sides are completely miles apart.
The president assured us that he will not accept this and we are thankful for that. But it doesn’t bring the sides any closer to unification.”
Day added: “The Turkish Cypriots believe the settlement will bring about a new Cyprus Federation with two zones. But the Greek Cypriots say the currently internationally-recognised Republic of Cyprus will continue.
We told the president that you cannot maintain a long-term existence of a Turkish Cypriot zone if the Accession Treaty signed by the Republic of Cyprus continues in the absence of permanent derogations or exemptions from EU law.
The Turkish Cypriots have to understand this very important issue.
Then what will happen? We go back to 1963 and the mayhem will start all over again.
The UN should look at the countries surrounding Cyprus which have war, violence and mayhem. Cyprus right now is a beacon of peace in this region. The UN should leave Cyprus alone and recognise the Turkish Cypriots.”