Article taken from the official page of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Foreign citizens are warned against purchasing Greek Cypriot owned property in the part of the Republic of Cyprus, which has been under Turkish military occupation since 1974.
According to the 1964 Lands and Surveys Department Records, Greek Cypriots owned approximately 78% of the privately owned land in the territory now under Turkish occupation, while persons belonging to the Turkish Cypriot community owned approximately 21%. In terms of the total area under Turkish military control, approximately 60% belonged to Greek Cypriots, 16% to Turkish Cypriots, less than 0,5% to other private individuals and 23% to the state.
The displaced persons are to this day prevented by the Turkish Armed Forces from returning to their homes and peacefully enjoying their properties. However, under Human Rights Conventions, international and national law, as well as in accordance with the
judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, they retain their title to their property.
The European Court of Human Rights, in its Judgment of 18 December 1996, on the individual application of Loizidou against Turkey, launched by a Greek Cypriot property owner from Kyrenia, Mrs. Titina Loizidou, and in the Fourth Interstate Application of Cyprus against Turkey of 10 May 2001, upheld the rights of the displaced Greek Cypriots to their properties. In the Loizidou case the Court also ordered the Government of Turkey to compensate the applicant for the time period of deprivation of use of her property.
These rulings were reconfirmed in all other Judgments issued on individual applications of Greek Cypriot property owners against Turkey, including the most recent
Judgment regarding the application of Myra Xenides- Arestis v. Turkey, where the court ordered Turkey to put an end to the human rights violations and to offer victims full reparation for same.
In the case of Myra Xenides-Arestis v Turkey (application no. 46347/99, 22/12/2005, §27), the European Court of Human Rights held that “the (Turkish) Government continued to exercise overall military control over northern Cyprus and that the fact that the Greek Cypriots had rejected the Annan Plan did not have the legal consequence of bringing to an end the continuing violation of the displaced persons’ rights.”
Greek Cypriot owners may also take legal action against usurpers of their property in the courts of the Republic of Cyprus. In its decision of 15 November 2004, in the case of Meletios Apostolides v David and Linda Orams, the Nicosia District Court found the Defendants liable for trespass against the property of the Applicant, ordering them to demolish the villa and other buildings erected on the property and to pay the Applicant damages. Pursuant to EC Regulation 44/2001, the decision of the civil court of the Republic of Cyprus can be enforced in any of the Member States of the European Union, against the property of the Defendants. Mr Apostolides has sought to register and execute the decision against the property of the defendants in Britain. The case is now pending before the British High Court.
Under the laws of the Republic of Cyprus, the exploitation of property registered in the name of another, without the consent of the legal owner or his heirs, is a criminal offence under Article 281 of the Penal Code, for which a European and an international arrest warrant could be issued.
It should be reminded that the regime in the occupied area represents an illegal secessionist entity. The United Nations Security Council by Resolution 541 (1983) and Resolution 550 (1984) has called upon all states to respect the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus and not to recognize any state in Cyprus, other than the Republic of Cyprus.
The European Union recognizes no state in Cyprus, other than the Republic of Cyprus, which has become a member in 2004. The whole of the territory of Cyprus is now territory of the European Union.
The European Court of Human Rights, in its examination of the Fourth Interstate Application of Cyprus v Turkey (10 May 2001), stated that “§61. .. it is evident from international practice and the condemnatory tone of the resolutions adopted by the United Nations Security Council and the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers that the international community does not
recognize the “TRNC” as a State under international law. The Court reiterates the conclusion reached in its Loizidou judgment (merits) that the Republic of Cyprus has remained the sole legitimate government of Cyprus…” The Republic of Cyprus continues to maintain full legal rights over its entire area and population, albeit temporarily hindered from exercising such rights in the occupied area, due to the Turkish military occupation.
As such, there is no recognition of another state in Cyprus. Therefore, the illegal secessionist entity in the occupied area of Cyprus, does not have jurisdiction to perform transfers of property ownership.
Thus, foreign citizens interested in purchasing property in the area currently under Turkish military occupation are strongly advised to thoroughly examine the legal ownership status of the property they are interested to acquire, through the Lands and Surveys Department of the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Cyprus, in order to ascertain, at first, that no violation of the property rights of the legal owners will be effected through the transaction, and, second, to safeguard that the purported seller is the true owner of the property and can transfer a valid title.
In order to secure a valid property transaction, foreign purchasers should ensure that any agreement or transaction over land in Cyprus, is duly registered with the Lands and Surveys Department of the Republic of Cyprus.