Lobby for Cyprus is a non-party-political human rights organisation campaigning for a reunited Cyprus.
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To: Channel Five television
27 May 2006
Property Developing Abroad
Ben Frow
Channel Five

27 May 2006

Dear Mr Frow

Property Developing Abroad

I am disappointed that Channel Five intends to broadcast the programme ‘Property Developing Abroad’ which I understand will promote the purchase of properties in the area of Cyprus that is under illegal Turkish occupation.

On your website you state:

“Smart movers are looking to make money by developing property in countries with fast booming economies like …North Cyprus …Supply often outstrips demand and for the property developer that means there’s money to be made turning hovels into dream homes.”

Firstly, so-called ‘North Cyprus’ is not actually a country, by any stretch of the imagination. It is part of the Republic of Cyprus that is under illegal occupation, as verified by the European Court of Human Rights, the European Union and countless United Nations resolutions.

The vast majority of homes and properties in the occupied north are owned by the 200,000 Greek Cypriots who were ethnically cleansed by the Turkish army following its invasion of 1974, so there is no surprise that “supply often outstrips demand”.

The Greek Cypriots are the legitimate owners of their properties and the false title-deeds issued by the occupation regime are not worth the paper they are written on, as affirmed by judgments of the European Court of Human rights. Therefore the sale of such properties is illegal. Any ‘purchasers’ of such stolen property are risking legal action and the loss of investment.

The Greek Cypriot property owners are forbidden to return to their homes by Turkey and its illegal regime, in violation of international law. I find it highly offensive that through your programme you will promote the illegal sale of the property of those who fled their homes and lands through use of murder, torture and rape by the Turkish army.

Many of the Greek Cypriot refugees, like many of my relatives and friends now reside in the UK and will no doubt be very offended by your programme. I would therefore request that you to reconsider broadcasting it.

The following is an extract from website of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office which should be of interest to you:

“Before purchasing property anywhere in Cyprus you are strongly advised to seek qualified legal advice from a source that is independent from the seller.

Property issues are closely linked to the political situation. There are a number of potential practical, financial and legal implications, particularly for those considering buying property in the north. These relate to the non-recognition of the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus”, the suspension of EU law in northern Cyprus, the possible consequences for property of a future settlement, and the many thousands of claims to ownership from people displaced in 1974. There is also a risk that purchasers would face legal proceedings in the courts of the Republic of Cyprus, as well as attempts to enforce judgements from the courts of the Republic of Cyprus elsewhere in the EU, including the UK.”

Christos Evangelou