Denktash: Property bids trickle in

NICOSIA (AFP) – A number of Greek Cypriots have applied to officials in the Turkish-occupied north of the island to benefit from a law aimed at resolving outstanding property disputes, Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash said yesterday. [The Cypriot government has expressed opposition to such «irresponsible» action by Greek Cypriots, arguing that it would lend support to Denktash, who is desperate to gain recognition of the occupied north as an internationally recognized state with a legitimate justice system.] «(On Wednesday) I received applications from five or six Greek Cypriots who want to settle the issue through compensation,» Denktash said yesterday. «The Greek Cypriots have now seen how appropriate our plan to resolve property disputes through compensation is.» The applications were made under a law – passed by officials in occupied northern Cyprus last month – which allows Greek Cypriots to seek compensation or exchange their property in the north for property belonging to Turkish-Cypriot former residents of the south. The law gives Greek Cypriots a year to make their applications, which will be evaluated by a commission with expertise in law or property evaluation. It is linked to a long-delayed compensation of 680,000 euros the European Court of Human Rights ordered Turkey to pay in 1998 to a Greek-Cypriot woman, Titina Loizidou, for depriving her of her property rights. Turkey has long resisted the ruling, but recently signaled it was ready to pay up on condition the court did not take up similar cases but referred them to Turkish-Cypriot authorities – a move condemned by Athens and Nicosia. Scores of other Greek Cypriots have filed similar complaints with the European Court of Human Rights.