NICOSIA – Turkish-Cypriot lawyer Akan Kürşat was extradited from Italy to Cyprus to face charges of being involved in the unlawful sale of Greek-Cypriot property on the Turkish-Cypriot occupied side of the island.
It follows Kürşat’s arrest in Italy on New Year’s Eve, which was carried out on the basis of a European arrest warrant over his real estate transactions on the northern part of the island seized by Turkey in unlawful 1974 invasions.
Kürşat contested his extradition to Cyprus before relenting.
He is accused of extortion and illegal possession and use of land. His troubles began in 2005 when a national arrest warrant was issued for him in Cyprus, said Turkish Minute.
Hasan Esendağlı, chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Bar Association, described Kürşat’s extradition as a case of “hostage taking” and criticized the actions of the Greek-Cypriot government that’s a member of the European Union.
The government warned against buying property in the occupied areas, citing the rights of displaced Greek-Cypriots to their property under international and national law although this year marks 50 years since they lost it.
Cypriot media reported that Kürşat appeared in court on Friday and is to be released on bail of 10,000 euros ($10,779) in cash and a bank guarantee of 65,000 euros ($70,062.)
Cypriot police said several other people linked to crimes involving property in the island’s north have outstanding European arrest warrants. These include British national Gary Robb, Turkish-Cypriot contractor Tuncel Tahir Soykan and construction engineer Kutsal Tokatlıoğlu, all linked to Aga Developments, a company allegedly involved in illegal property sales in the north.