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Politics

Foreign Buyers Scoop Greek-Cypriot Properties on Occupied Side

NICOSIA – Thousands of properties and plots owned by Greek-Cypriots who fled the 1974 Turkish invasions, now situated on the occupied side, are being sold to foreign buyers, primarily Russians, Ukrainians, Israelis, and Iranians.

Turkish land developers are driving this trend, as reported by the Cypriot newspaper Philenews, resulting in a construction boom despite the United Nations resolutions that recognize these properties as belonging to the original owners. The majority of these transactions, involving over 7,000 Greek-Cypriot properties in the past few years, are being carried out through illicit fast-track procedures.

Meanwhile, the hardline nationalist Turkish-Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar, who assumed power in October 2020, has been reopening sections of the fenced-off Varosha resort on the occupied side.

According to the Turkish-Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi, most of the 2,672 “licenses” granted to acquire plots in the occupied territories in 2022 were awarded to Israeli citizens. Additionally, there are approximately 2,000 companies in the occupied territories controlled by Israeli shareholders.

Significant amounts of land, particularly farmland in the occupied Karpass peninsula, have been acquired through these companies, totaling 25,000 acres. Turkish-Cypriot sources also report that 2,000 acres have been purchased in the Lefke area for development.

Land and property sales have also surged in the occupied Kyrenia and Trikomo areas over the past year, with growing concerns now focusing on Famagusta and reports of an imminent unlawful settlement there.

Halkin Sesi revealed the creation of a new community in occupied Trikomo, consisting of apartment blocks, homes, and various services such as supermarkets and cafeterias. Most of these constructions are built on Greek-Cypriot-owned farmland and sold to foreign buyers.

Due to sanctions imposed on the Greek-Cypriot side over the invasion of Ukraine, Russians are increasingly showing interest in the occupied side. With restrictions imposed on them in the Greek-Cypriot side, which is a member of the European Union, more Russians are turning to the isolated side. American and British sanctions on oligarchs and Greek-Cypriot firms supporting them have also contributed to this shift, as Turkey refuses to adhere to these sanctions.

During a meeting between Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the issue of Israelis purchasing Greek-Cypriot properties was reportedly discussed, although details of the outcome were not disclosed.

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