Lobby for Cyprus is a non-party-political human rights organisation campaigning for a reunited Cyprus.
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Letters

To: Channel Five television
12 June 2006
Property Developing Abroad
Channel Five

12 June 2006

Sirs

Your website describes the series ‘Property Developing Abroad’ as follows:

“Five’s brand new series gives you the nitty-gritty on how to be a property developer abroad. This series is all about how to do it, where to do it and who’s doing it now.”

To any reader this means that you are telling people where to develop property and how they should do it. Notwithstanding numerous complaints on the subject, I understand that you still plan to air a programme promoting an illegal act, namely the purchase by British property developers of stolen lands in Cyprus belonging to Greek Cypriots. As you are no doubt aware, Cyprus was invaded by Turkey in 1974 and Turkey is still in illegal occupation of the northern part of Cyprus.

The fact that the only legitimate owners of the title-deeds to property in occupied Cyprus are the Greek Cypriot owners and that Turkey is in “effective occupation” of the northern part of Cyprus has been confirmed by the European Court of Human Rights. I refer you to the decision of Loizidou v Turkey (1996) in this regard. If you read that decision you will see that the ‘deeds’ purportedly issued by the Turkish puppet regime in the occupied area are worthless and have no legal validity. Any person who pays for property in the occupied area is paying for stolen land and is liable to claims for recompense by the legitimate owners. Any judgment against the purported owners of the stolen land which may be obtained in the Republic of Cyprus is liable to be enforced in England or elsewhere within the European Union against the assets of the British developers (properties or money in bank accounts anywhere in the EU).

Accordingly, if you air this programme you will be encouraging an illegal act. You will also be offending the sensibilities of thousands of viewers who have property in the occupied area which is currently being exploited by the unethical and illegal acts of the developers.

In view of the above, I would urge you not to air the programme and to recognise that there are more important issues at stake than your current programme scheduling. Many lives were lost and families destroyed as a result of the illegal invasion of Cyprus. Churches have been destroyed and used as stables and ancestral graves have been desecrated. People lost more than their homes during the invasion and even though it has been almost 32 years since the invasion those wounds are still fresh. This is not a matter to be handled lightly and entirely insensitively.

I have seen some of your standard responses to complaints being made about the programme being aired and they do not address the concerns of the Greek Cypriot community and those individuals who have Greek Cypriot friends who are fully aware of the legal position. If you consider that you have had numerous complaints regarding the prospect of the programme being aired, these are insignificant compared with the number of complaints you will receive if you air the programme. I for one will not be watching Channel 5 again. It is disgraceful in the extreme for Channel 5 to seek to exploit the disaster that has befallen the Greek Cypriot people in this way. This goes beyond exploitation as your programme is effectively an endorsement and advertisement of an illegal act.

Until recently, Greek Cypriots were prevented from visiting their homes in the occupied area. However, in a perverse political move, owners are allowed to enter the occupied north and to visit their homes only to find them occupied in some instances by foreign developers. This in itself has made the possibility of claims much more real and these claims are being commenced against such developers whether in England or elsewhere.

I would appreciate an urgent and non-standard considered response and would ask that you reconsider your misguided decision to air such a programme.