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TRNC Immovable Property Commission runs out of Cash


23 June 2014







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TRNC Immovable Property Commission runs out of Cash

There has been a provocative report in the TRNC newspaper Afrika, that Turkey has told the TRNC administration it would no longer fund compensation for Greek Cypriot properties under the north's immovable property commission (IPC) and that those people living in them would have to pay a 25 per cent tax over the value of the property. The IPC has allegedly run out of cash.

It is a well known fact that the IPC is primarily funded by cash from Turkey and it offers dispossessed Greek Cypriots a local remedy for loss of property due to the inter communal strife of the 1970s and earlier years. According to Afrika, Ankara told the TRNC it would stop funding the IPC, and the Turkish Cypriot side does not have the money to pay off Greek Cypriot applicants who want to sell their property in the north.

Afrika said the plan is now to impose a 25 per cent tax on those people occupying Greek Cypriot properties. This would only apply to cases where the IPC has assessed and ruled in favour of claims from dispossessed Greek Cypriots, or their heirs. The paper said contacts have already been held with TRNC banks so that those individuals who cannot pay could secure a loan with the cash being remitted to the IPC.

As of 20 June 2014, 5,899 applications from Greek Cypriots had been lodged with the IPC. Some 531 have been concluded through friendly settlements and 12 through formal hearing.  The commission has paid out 161.3m sterling (€200m) in total to Greek Cypriots.

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The IPC has ruled for exchange and compensation in two cases, for restitution in one case and for restitution and compensation in five cases. In one case it has delivered a decision for restitution after the settlement of Cyprus issue, and in one case it has ruled for partial restitution.

This story is reminiscent of the financial crisis in the Greek Republic of Cyprus, where the bank deposits of anyone with a cash balance of over 100,000 euros were frozen and taxed. The newspaper story does touch a sensitive point, namely, the unquantified potential financial cost to the TRNC of settling the Greek Cypriot property issue. However, the value of settlements in recent years is less than most independent observers predicted. This is probably due to the fact that many dispossessed Greek Cypriots, or their heirs, are actively discouraged from making application to the TRNC Immovable Property Commission by the various agencies of the Greek Republic of Cyprus administration.

In conclusion, the report is provocative, but it is also likely to be frivolous and mischievous.

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