North real estate deals are ‘illegal’

All real estate transactions in Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus are illegal and people who purchase property there will lose their money, Cyprus’s attorney-general warned yesterday, following a UK newspaper report of widespread buying by Britons north of the ceasefire line. Attorney-General Alekos Markides noted that the European Court of Human Rights – in a landmark case relevant to other Greek Cypriots who lost their land in the north of the island – has already ruled in favor of Greek-Cypriot refugee Titina Loizidou in her fight for compensation from Turkey for preventing her from using her property in occupied Kyreneia. Markides also pointed out that, even in the case of real estate belonging to Turkish Cypriots, all transactions are illegal unless they are conducted through the competent authorities in the Republic of Cyprus. An article in Sunday’s Observer said that Britons, attracted by cheap prices and the prospect of a peace settlement on the divided island, are flocking to buy homes and land in the north. The paper said over 1,000 Britons live north of the Green Line.