Lobby for Cyprus is a non-party-political human rights organisation campaigning for a reunited Cyprus.
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To: UK Members of Parliament
25 May 2008
To UK MPs: Property in the occupied areas of Cyprus

Dear [Name of Member of Parliament]

On the question of buying property in Cyprus the FCO currently advises that because of the "number of potential practical, financial and legal implications, particularly for those considering buying property in the north…[including] the many thousands of claims to ownership from people displaced in 1974" individuals are "strongly advised to seek qualified legal advice".

These are not just claims – it cannot be made clearer that only those with title-deeds as registered at the Land Registry of the Republic of Cyprus are the owners of property in Cyprus including in the occupied areas.

The European Court of Human Rights, in its recent judgment, in the case of Demades v Turkey (April 2008), "reiterates its finding …that displaced Greek Cypriots, like the applicant, cannot be deemed to have lost title to their property and that the compensation to be awarded by this Court in such cases is confined to losses emanating from the denial of access and loss of control, use and enjoyment of his property".

The Demades case is the third successful case dealing with compensations from Turkey in matters of property rights. The first case was the Loizidou case when the right of property was secured, the second was the Xenidis-Aresti case when the cost of occupation in the fenced off city of Famagusta was determined and, now, this case which determines the cost of occupation in Kyrenia.

I would like you to urge the Prime Minister and the government as a whole to take note of the Court’s decisions, which are also reflected in decisions of both the EU and UN. The government has an obligation both to the rightful owners and to its own citizens contemplating the purchase of property in the occupied areas to ensure that their rights are protected. A good start would be to make certain that the advice it gives is clear and accurate.