North Cyprus Government refuses to hand over deeds to buyers
By Mike Stock
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) finally made a ruling in relation to what body should deal with compensation and settlement for Greek Cypriots who lost land and property due to the conflict of 1974. They have settled on the Immovable Property Commission (IPC) set up by Turkey. This means that all Greek Cypriots have to go through this body first rather than appealing to the ECHR.
Good news for owners of property in North Cyprus? There is just one problem. The North Cyprus Government are refusing to allow purchasers of undisputed pre 74 Turkish Title land and properties to have their title deeds.
After the recent verdicts in the ECHR, it is still a safer bet to purchase Pre 74 Turkish or Foreign title property. This is land or property that was owned by a Turkish Cypriot or foreigner before the troubles of 1974. Naturally since the ruling, sales of this type of property have increased. So can we say all is not lost and construction and sales can proceed?
Indeed there are several excellent developments being built on Pre 74 Turkish title land, among them are two developments near Guzelyurt, this is an area that the Turkish Cypriot Government has gone on record as stating will be an area of tourism and regeneration. There is only one problem, to date all the foreign purchasers of these properties and other pre 74 developments have been refused their title deeds, even though the government originally gave permission for what are obviously developments that are to be sold to foreigners.
In a country where it takes two years to process an applicant's Permission to Purchase, effectively the build and sale process have been completed by the time the Government gets around to deciding who can purchase and who cannot.
The usual reason for refusal is that a development is too close to a military base. In this case it was not, so it seems that the official reason is that the land and coast is of strategic importance. How this has come to be so since the original permission was given can only be speculated.
In a state that needs negative press like a hole in the head, it really is hard to understand the logic and one can only hope that sense will prevail. The old adage, "Talk is cheap but actions are louder than words" comes to mind.
As of writing this article, all attempts to talk to a member of the government have been unsuccessful. Indeed getting any response is almost impossible. It only remains to be seen if some sort realisation of the situation will dawn on the powers that be.
This unspoilt area of the Mediterranean has to deal with many complex issues but in some ways the hardest lesson that needs to be learnt will not be living with its neighbours over the border but to recognise a source of investment and not to drive away much needed revenue. There is nothing more humiliating than to score an own goal.