Monday, January 02, 2006

Cyprus - Parliamentary Question Over Stolen Land

North Thanet`s MP, Roger Gale, has today (Monday 19th December) tabled a written parliamentary question challenging this government’s position in relation to stolen land in Cyprus.

The question, for answer on the day the House returns after the Christmas recess (9th January 2006) asks the Foreign Office to re-affirm the attitude of the British Government towards the purchase and development, by British citizens, of stolen land located in the northern (occupied) part of Cyprus.

The question follows reports that the Prime Minister`s wife, Cherie Booth, QC. has taken a brief to defend the human rights of two British subjects who have acquired property built on land stolen by the occupying force following the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus.

Gale, who is Conservative Vice-Chairman of the All Party Friends of Cyprus Group, says:

"For twenty two years in the House of Commons I have been working to secure the return, to my constituent George Gerolemou, of his villa in the Northern part of the Island.  George Gerolemou, who is now nearly 94 years old, built his home a couple of years before the invasion and spent just two summers there with his wife, now deceased.

We have recently visited the property, now illegally occupied buy a Turkish family, and found that the new "owners" have added a swimming pool to George`s garden!

He does not have many summers left to him and we want his property back.  These are the human rights that the British Government, and those with close connections to it, should be defending - not the interests of those who have knowingly or otherwise invested in property that was not for sale.

It seems as though the F&CO is giving one advice on its website while tacitly recognizing the illegal regime and its works in the occupied North and very many Cypriot nationals, now resident and working in the United Kingdom, feel very strongly, as I do representing them,  that this unacceptable."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is not generally as simple an issue as the one case described above.I believe that all GC should be allowed to reoccupy their homes in the North or sell them at a fair price.Ditto for the TC and South.
It is unfortunately true that the Greek Cypriots (GC) treated the Turkish Cypriots (TC) as second class citizens up until 1972.
Then it seemed like the mainland Greeks were about to annex Cyprus and the mainland Turks moved in and took over the North of Cyprus to protect their citizens.
Land and housing belonging to both sides has been occupied by the other in both parts, the TC side however has been very much more upfront about it.
The GC side is much richer and more litigious, this is not to say they are wrong but the TC side is willing to compromise and compensate, the GC is not.
Expats should IMHO stay away from buying GC land and houses in the North, there is TC title land available there but as the TC owned relatively little before 1972 then there is a shortage.
Having just visited Cyprus and inspected UN positions there on the border and also toured the South and North I can only say that Turkey has made a real mess of N Cyprus with their settlers from the mainland, and also that the GC have overdeveloped the South.
Kofi Annan has offered a settlement proposal, however the GC don't want it. There is no other viable proposition to end the division.
It is impossible to discuss this with most GC - they usually immediately say "but the Turks killed my Grandfather". No doubt this is true but they must find a way forward and it will not happen until the old GC generation are dead through old age.