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Things to watch out for with North Cyprus Properties

If you've been looking at North Cyprus' properties and wondering about how to tell a safe buy from a potentially catastrophic one, there are a few things you should be watching out for.

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If only you know what to look for in North Cyprus, properties can be bought legally without running the risk of losing your home to a dispossessed Greek Cypriot.

And it's not just about getting a reliable lawyer to check local land registry office records. You should also take a look at the TRNC Immovable Property Commission.

 
Turkish Republic of North Cyprus Homes
North Cyprus Homes
(The Truth)
Things to look out for with North Cyprus Homes
North Cyprus Properties
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North Cyprus Property
The Bad News

If it's on the Internet, it must be true

Looking at the handful of pre-invasion maps on the Internet showing the ethnographic distribution across Cyprus, it would be extremely easy to believe that most of the island belonged to Greek Cypriots before the Turkish invasion of 1974. This is because they invariably show scattered pockets of Turkish residents surrounded by a vast majority of primarily Greek Cypriot territories.

These maps almost invariably claim to date from 1960, when the island gained its independence from Britain. The majority, however, actually show Cyprus' population distribution after the Turks had been forced to retreat into their own enclaves through the outbreak of intercommunal violence in December 1963. At best, the picture they paint is a skewed one.

 

The south-west tower at Buffavento castle, senn from below

The mosque at Prastio, north of Oroklini and Pyla

 

What does this have to do with buying a home in North Cyprus?

Put simply, it means that the previous ownership of North Cyprus' properties cannot necessarily be determined by the fact that someone claims a certain region to have been primarily populated by Greek Cypriots at the time of the invasion. A great many Turkish Cypriot residents had already abandoned their homes by the early part of 1964, to seek the safety of rapidly developing Turkish enclaves.

This does of course immediately bring us back to the need for prospective homebuyers to search the TRNC's land registry records via a competent lawyer, but there are a couple of other things to be done too.

Take a close look at the part of North Cyprus where you're thinking of buying your new home

It may sound overly simple, but taking a look at the community where you're thinking of buying can tell you a lot about its history. For starters, there's the size of its religious buildings. If you drive through a village, and you see a large Byzantine church, chances are you're in a town with a predominantly Greek-Cypriot population before the invasion, but if there's a tiny little church, and a huge mosque, the reverse is obviously true.

Furthermore, the state of the village centres will oftentimes provide a clear guide to the settlement's pre-invasion population. You see, in the years following 1974, the Turkish government moved an awful lot of what it considered to be 'less desirable elements' from the Turkish mainland to North Cyprus. Properties allocated for their housing were without exception those seized from Greek Cypriots. Then, in the 1980s, their number was boosted by thousands of Bulgarian/Turkish refugees fleeing their country's communist regime, and the same means of housing was applied.

These people and their desecendents still live in the same places, and it shows. Not to put too fine a point on it, if the village you're looking at has a delapidated core, and people just don't appear to care about the state of their homes, there's a very good chance the area was predominantly Greek Cypriot, and its dispossessed population was replaced by Turkish immigrants and/or Bulgarian refugees.

Many of North Cyprus' properties have been exchanged by Greek Cypriot owners via the TRNC's Immovable Property Commission

It's a fact, though not one you'll find commonly admitted, that a substantial of dispossessed Greek Cypriots have in fact chosen to exchange the legal rights to their North Cyprus Properties for the title deeds to land and homes in the Republic of Cyprus which belonged to Turkish Cypriots prior to 1974. These exchanges have been carried out by the TRNC's Immovable Property Commission (IPC), in accordance with directives from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). These recommendations are that the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus create 'an effective domestic remedy for claims relating to abandoned properties in Northern Cyprus'.

Since the IPC began operations in 2006, it has handled over five hundred claims, more than a few of which have been successfully resolved. In May 2010 it was also officially recognised by the ECHR as an effective local means of beginning to address the issue of North Cyprus' properties which had been abandoned by Greek Cypriot owners almost four decades ago. The TRNC's Immovable Property Commission website contains up-to-date information about its ongoing activities, a current list of successfully resolved cases, and a monthly news bulletin. If you're seriously thinking about buying property in the TRNC, the Immovable Property Commission is an ideal starting point in your search for a 100% safe purchase.

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Disclaimer. Please note that the information given on this website is displayed for guidance purposes only. It does not replace the need for professional advice, either legal or otherwise. E&OE

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