Friday 22 January 2010 | Expat News feed


The end of a dream?

Legal battle could affect thousands of holiday home owners in northern Cyprus.

David and Linda Orams, whose legal battle affects thousands of holiday home owners in northern Cyprus
David and Linda Orams, whose legal battle affects thousands of holiday home owners in northern Cyprus Photo: PA

A British couple face having to demolish their holiday villa in Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus after a lengthy legal fight ended at the UK Court of Appeal.

David and Linda Orams bought the land in northern Cyprus in 2002 - but the land was reclaimed by the original owner, Meletios Apostolides, who fled to the south in a Turkish invasion then took legal action against them in Cyprus to recover his property.

This resulted in the Nicosia District Court ordering the demolition of the villa, pool and fencing. The couple were also ordered to give the property back to Apostolides and pay him damages

Three appeal judges rejected argument by the Orams' legal team at the hearing in November that the President of the European Court of Justice (ECJ), Judge Vassilios Skouris, could have been biased when the Luxembourg court ruled the British courts must enforce the Cyprus legal decision.

UK judges had referred the case to Luxembourg after Mr Apostolides appealed against a High Court ruling that the Nicosia court's decision was not enforceable.

Lord Justice Pill said: "The perception of the reasonable and informed observer would be, as is my perception, that there was no real possibility that the President (of the ECJ) would be influenced by the honour he received or by his other contacts.

"The judgment of the court is in no way tarnished by those contacts, considered either individually or cumulatively."

The appeal judges refused to refer the case back to Europe because of the apparent bias and allowed Mr Apostolides's appeal against the High Court order that the Cyprus decisions could not be enforced.

Mr Apostolides was displaced with his family from his property in Lapithos after the Turkish military occupation.

The Orams bought the land from a third party who claimed to have acquired it from the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, a state recognised nowhere but in Turkey.

Mr Apostolides argued in the Cyprus courts that, although the Republic had lost effective control of the northern part of the island, its laws still applied even if they were not easily enforceable.

The ruling of the Nicosia court, now enforceable in the UK jurisdiction, sets a precedent for other Cypriots displaced in the north to bring actions against holiday home owners throughout Europe and the rest of the world.

Lord Justice Pill made it clear at the beginning of his judgment that nothing in the ruling could be taken to indicate "an acceptance of or a comment upon the legitimacy of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus".

He said he accepted there was an international consensus that every encouragement should be given to achieving a peaceful settlement of the long-standing disputes in Cyprus.

"To proceed from that acceptance to accepting a proposition that United Kingdom courts should treat it as manifestly contrary to public policy in the United Kingdom to enforce the obligation under Community law to register judgments of courts in Cyprus is a very large step."

But Mrs Orams said she did not know how the judgments would be enforced in the Turkish controlled part of the island.

"We will have to have a lot of discussions with our lawyers before coming to any conclusions. We are very disappointed and it is a blow but we are taking it on the chin and will do our best to sort everything out."

She said she believed they had unwittingly become involved in a complex political situation between the divided communities.

"We don't think it is personal, it is political. The rulings will be a source of concern to many other property owners in Cyprus."

The couple said they continued to believe that only a political settlement can resolve the issues.

"We hope that this judgment will not undermine that process. We will study the judgment and consider whether there is anything further to be done.

"Failing that, we will have to take steps, as far as possible given the political situation in Cyprus, to comply with the judgment."


Comments: 36

  • A brief history of Cyprus and its land issue.

    Cyprus was given from the Ottomans to Britain as a gift (with some rent and without caring about the will of the Greek or the Turkish Cypriots) so that Britain protect Turkey from the expanding Russians. This happened in 1878.After a few years the British annexed Cyprus as a crown colony. The British wanted to collect taxes and so they created the Cyprus Land Survey Department imaging the one in Britain in order to collect more taxes in a more exact way. Since then title deeds were recorded and are still around for any researcher to check them up. Land ownership through the decades was kept to a constant Greeks: 85%, Turks 15%. This is based on the British records. These records were later inherited by the Cyprus Republic. Turks ware mainly living in Cities and thus the 15% instead from the 18% representing their population.
    Anything else mentioned here or anywhere else regarding land ownership in Cyprus is wrong and is just propaganda to make some people feel good or bad. Everyone interested Turkish or Greek Cypriot can trace their inheritance through The Cyprus Land Survey Department or through British records.
    These title deeds are still valid.

    on January 21, 2010
    at 05:55 PM
  • Thanks to Anastasi for reminding us the wisedom in those prophetic words of James Callaghan on 14 August 1974. Regretfully for all those britons who were lured into "buying" stolen property in the occupied area of Cyprus, the FCO bureaucrats soon forgot the wisedom of their political master and failed to warn the british public in no uncertain words and from the very beginning about the risks of such actions. From what I remember, the warning on the FCO website came very late, and the initial wording was very vague. They had a clear responsibility to protect british citizens from such troubles but flagrantly failed to do so.

    Yiayia Clotilde
    on January 21, 2010
    at 10:35 AM
  • Interesting article I read the other day. It stated that the Greek government 'fudged' its economic data and that it would have not got into the EU had the truth been know about their economic situation.

    I am beginning to wonder if there is a culture of corruption within Greek society. If so, perhaps this judge who is an ethnic Greek is a part of this culture.

    on January 21, 2010
    at 10:12 AM
  • Two small things come to mind here...

    1) Fools and their money are easily parted.


    2) At the breakdown of the Geneva talks on 14th August 1974, & on the eve of Turkey grabbing a full 38% of Cyprus territory, James Callaghan, the then British Foreign Secretary said these prophetic words to the world's media:

    ", Cyprus is hostage to the Turkish army, but tomorrow, Turkey may find itself hostage to Cyprus."

    Well, the chickens are finally coming home to roost.

    on January 20, 2010
    at 11:27 PM
  • In response to mhassan@btinternet.(below)– I am afraid you are the one who knows so little. The projects quoted have been on land owned by many, the vast majority of which are G/Cs – however when you build a highway several kms long small pockets of land inevitably belong to many. I hope you understand how ludicrous your statement is that a highway stretching 100kms can be targeted along land just owned by T/Cs.

    on January 20, 2010
    at 10:28 PM
  • All you turks and brits out there
    who think they can profit from other people misery have just been proved wrong,thank you there is a GOD!!!!!

    george costas
    on January 20, 2010
    at 07:32 PM
  • Restoring rights to those expelled from their homes is fundamental to a solution. Why do Turks insist that this is some kind of a loss to their side? Can Turkish Cypriots only conceive of a solution at the expense of Greek Cypriots? The Turkish Cypriots need to stop thinking in terms of zero-sum games and start thinking of how they can live in peace and prosperity with the majority of citizens on the island. That will never happen as long as the Turkish community insists on depriving others of their human rights. In the words of Mr. Apostolides: "I would like to have my property back because it is my human right."

    James Shawcross
    on January 20, 2010
    at 04:38 PM
  • Justice at last!
    I am English (Anglo Cypriot) and I am proud to say that the British Justice System has proved it is one of, (if not the best) in the world.
    How can, since 1974, when Turkey illegally invaded Cyprus did it think that mass ethnic cleansing of a race that has been resident in those lands for around 7,000 years be just?
    Turkey proclaims itself a secular country, yet even Pope Benedict recently condemed Turkeys actions in the destruction of around 800 (some of which are some of the oldest around) churches.
    These actions are blatantley anti-Christian, from a country which purley wished to enforce it's past Ottoman Empirial rights on an island who wishes to live in peace with its Islamic neighbours (the Rep of Cyprus has magnificent relations with all its other Islamic neighbours.
    Those of whome wonder what started the clash of Turkish & Greek speaking Cypriots (they are all Cypriots and not Greeks or Turks)may not know a little fact that a bomb was let off in a Turkish Cypriot office in the government building in the capital Nicosia, which was blamed on Right wing fascist Greek Cypriots (EOKA B) but I read a book a couple of years ago written by Christopher Hitchens - Hostage to History , Cyprus interviewed Raulph Denktash (sectret leader of the far right Turkish Cypriot organisation Valkans) who held a high possition in government at that time (later to become the dictator of the North of the Island and a lap dog of Turkey) admitted to Mr. Hitchens that they them selves blew up their own office and murdered those poor Turkish speaking Cypriots who worked there so that conflict between the 2 peoples could begin!
    The 2 communities lived in peace up until that point!
    On the other side there were evils coming from Athens during its millitary Junta period poisoning the minds of young impreesionable Greek speaking Cypriots with far right intentions.
    The people have suffered long enough, and should be once again re-united as one Republic of Cyprus.
    I do not resent Turkish Cypriots and have Turkish Cypriot friends, and I am sure this is common on both sides of the border of that Island of Love.
    Romantic? Nieve?
    But hopefull for peace and unity definately.
    As to the issues of lands in the Republic (south) the Turkish Cypriots have had lands given back as the Supreme Cypriot Court ruled in favour to one Mustapha Asiff and he now I(I believe lives in the Republic as many other Turkish Cypriots do in the legal side the Republic of Cyprus)

    Mr M. Matheou
    on January 20, 2010
    at 02:45 PM
  • this judgement for most peaple living on exchange land will mean absolutly nothing. the greek cyp will never get it back as the turkish cyp who once owned.larnica airport will not get a cent back the gc goverment has said he will get his compansation when there has been a settlement.and that my dear gc will never ..ever happen have the germans .or the jews had thier lands back from russia or poland after the war NO AND POLAND IS IN THE EU

    on January 20, 2010
    at 12:44 PM
  • Steve quotes:
    "Not a single piece of T/C land has been sold off to 3rd parties (either to G/C individuals or citizens of foreign countries)"

    Steve, how little you know about Cyprus and the Cyprus problem. It's not about the selling of TC land it's about the GC's deliberate use of TC land for 'public projects', building highways and airports to name a few. This is all done under the guise of 'public projects' which the GC's mistakenly think that they can abuse. This is really part of their policy to eventually rid the island of the presence of the TC's which has been occuring since the 1950's.

    This rulling will not bring peace any closer and I believe will have a negative impact.

    on January 20, 2010
    at 11:48 AM
  • As a Greek Cypriot I feel the need to congratulate the british justice system for its professionalism and objectivity. By doing so it has proved that the rule of law is not empty words for the UK. Unfortunately that was and is not the case with the various british governments and especially the FCO which have followed a despeakable policy on the Cyprus problem in their obsession to promote the Turkish interests on the island. The Orams, no matter how stupidly they acted by "buying" stolen property, should now turn against the FCO which failed to warn the british citizens in no uncertain terms about the risks of property bonanza in an occupied territory.

    Yiayia Clotilde
    on January 20, 2010
    at 11:27 AM
  • This case demonstrates to the turkish government the determination of all greek cypriot refugees.WE WILL NEVER FORGET WHAT YOU STOLE.You can change names of places bring settlers from turkey build on our land but it will never belong to you.The Arams thought they got a brilliant deal ,cheap land,warm sunshine ,beutiful countryside.They didn'nt care what happened in Cyprus all they wanted was a cheap villa, no questions about morality.Also to all the turkish cypriots who claim this judgement is unfair and that they have lost property in the south GO AND CLAIM IT atleast you can.A good day for justice long live the EU.

    Yiannis Christou
    on January 20, 2010
    at 11:01 AM
  • Building villas on other people's property isn't a wise thing to do.

    on January 20, 2010
    at 09:28 AM
  • 1. Who started the war?
    2. Why would an Army invade?
    3. Who and where are the documents relating to who owns which land and when and who wrote them.
    4. If you own it, prove it, then come and get it.
    5. Why did it take 28 years for the man to come and reclaim his land and what pushed him to do so?
    6. Mr Justice "Pill", is this a wind up?
    7. ECJ Judges with Greek origin ruling on cases without fully documented original evidence?
    Next will be the Trojan Horses with Greek bailiffs inside on bounty. Now the borders will definitely close and the Market values rise and no I am not an alias. I am an owner of property on exchange land which will no doubt also be contested somewhere by a GCGD (Greek Cypriot gold digger)

    Costas Comangedit
    on January 20, 2010
    at 09:22 AM
  • There is a haze of comments, with the usual exaggerations –– such as the preposterous reference to a "genocide" of the Muslims of Cyprus (they are no Turks as they Greek converts to Islam in the first place).
    The point is very simple: if you purchase stolen goods, in this case property, you are guilty of a crime.
    In this case the punishment for that crime is to lose whatever money you "invested" in committing the crime.
    Turkey can't have it both ways, i.e. to demand to be treated like a civilized state and at the same time to be predatory state that steals, rapes and murders...

    Aristide Caratzas
    on January 20, 2010
    at 08:56 AM
  • There are 3 sides to my story; you're side, my side and then the truth! Bad news for some maybe but good for others. I may well buy in the North now as property prices will fall and I have no UK home to be gobbled up by the EU gravy train.

    on January 20, 2010
    at 07:52 AM
  • There are a lot of ahistorical statements posted in some of the comments below. Some deserve to be mentioned to avoid any misunderstandings. First, "EOKA A" was not the same as "EOKA B." The first was active during the anti-colonial insurrection against the British (1955-59) with the blessings of Makarios. EOKA B was a paramilitary organisation that staged the coup against Makarios (1974) with the blessings of the Greek Junta. Note that Makarios enjoyed the overwhelming support of the Cypriots (let's not generalise by saying that "Greek Cypriots" were killing "Turkish Cypriots," then). Also note that Turkish Cypriots had their own paramilitary organisation (TMT) formed by Rauf Denktash in 1958 that was responsible for many bombings and attacks on Greek-Cypriots and their property.

    Second, the Turkish Cypriots are still legal subjects of the Republic of Cyprus should they choose to claim their passport or ID. And many have done so recent years. This point is important since Turkish Cypriots have every right to claim their property in the south--they were never denied the right to enter the republic or claim the property. If their land was used by the government, as was claimed by some, then they deserve full compensation.

    All refugees must return to their properties independently of ethnicity (be they Greek Cypriots or Turkish Cypriots). The judgement of the court today was just, loud, and clear. There is enough pain and suffering on the island and the last thing we need are couples like the Orams who think they can pleasantly retire at the expense of others. Justice caught up with them indeed.

    Andreas Varoshiotis
    on January 20, 2010
    at 07:06 AM
  • Lots of misrepresentation here - pretending as usual that the Greeks were not to blame (of course they never are) - ignoring the 10 years of Genocide against the turks, and trying to 'tweak' the chronological order of events.
    This is the only reason that Cyprus joined the EU (in breach of both cyprus and EU law) and now the Greeks will have no incentive to work to a peaceful conclusion - well done, the money laundered from Milosevic has been put to good use.

    ghost of papadop
    on January 20, 2010
    at 06:48 AM
  • Well i am sure that a Greek Judge with greek Cypriot wife, who brought forward the case so he could preside over it and went to have a meeting with the Greek cypriot prime minister was obviously above any suspicion of bias.
    As for finding out who the pre-74 owners are - best of luck - pre 64 would be clearer - but then the Greek cypriots have destroyed all those records and rewritten them.

    on January 20, 2010
    at 06:47 AM
  • What is particularly interesting is how the prime Minister of Britain's wife(Blair), was allowed to represent and influence the original decision of British court, in the favour of its own citizens.
    And now the Brit's who bought their homes illegally, are complaining about court favouratism towards one side over the other.
    Amazing logic!

    on January 20, 2010
    at 06:37 AM
  • Do i come take your house by force, claim its mine and the sell it to someone else? Would you give it up just like that? If there is even one person here who thinks its ok to sell whats not theirs, then im honestly truly sorry and wish you never be in this position. Turks took it illegally, sell it illegally and whoever buys it, buys it illegally. End of story

    on January 20, 2010
    at 06:31 AM
  • Further to my previous comments I think this ruling shows how far English justice has come. It illustrates that despite Britain’s often imperialistic foreign policy (see Iraq), the judiciary remains independent, fair and not subject to political lines. Although many motives and interest hid behind both the Orams and Apostolides the English court’s decision agreed with the one reached at the European Court of Justice.

    This should also serve as a reminder to Turkey’s European aspirations - that joining the EU means that they would have to start respecting the individual’s basic human right of peaceful enjoyment of possession and general protection of their property.

    George Gerogiou
    on January 20, 2010
    at 06:20 AM
  • A good day for justice. It's right that those who have been forcibly dispossessed of their properties will have recourse to the EU and UK courts to seek compensation and restitution. What has been perpetrated by the Turkish army in Cyprus is a terrible crime compounded by greedy foreigners moving in on their properties.

    Today is vindication for all those who support the Greek Cypriot people in their struggle for justice and the re-unification of their island.

    Shame on those British citizens who have sought to benefit from the Turkish occupation through their squalid property dealings. They took a gamble and now must face the consequences. They deserve and should receive no sympathy.

    Dr. Martin Dure-Smith
    on January 20, 2010
    at 06:14 AM
  • Here we go again. The Greeks joining in under English names to spill their poison.

    The fact is I dont see the courts crying out for the Palestinians who loose their homes daily.

    The "Invasion" of Cyprus was to save Turkish Cypriots from the Right wing Greek EOKA (who incidentally killed not just Turks but Britts also).

    Anyway I doubt this token rulling (originally by a GREEK judge in Luxembourg) can ever be enforced in the North with the Turkish peace keepers there.

    Mike Robins
    on January 20, 2010
    at 12:09 AM
  • I agree completely with Mr Stevens's comments below and do not have any sympathy with the Orams or anyone else who has despicably attempted to benefit from the loss of someone's rightful home. Today is a historic day for the Greek Cypriots who have lost their homes and a clear message to anyone who is thinking of illegally investing in this region.

    Well done Mr Apostolides I congratulate your victory today, justice has been achieved and I hope this will be the catalyst for many more similar cases highlighting that land thieves will be brought to justice under the judgment of international law backed by this case in the European Court of Justice and by British jurisdiction. Anyone else who has bought property in Northern Cyprus illegally from refugees forced from their homes by the Turkish regime, I hope the same happens to you and you too are brought to justice and ordered to knock down your house and forced to pay damages.
    I find Caroline's comments below completely unfounded and lacking any "true" substance whatsoever and am very interested to find out where she gets her facts and figures from. May be from the same authorities who conned the Orams ha ha ha!

    Victor Evans
    on January 20, 2010
    at 12:01 AM
  • At first glance it is difficult not to feel sorry for a retired couple having to return land they supposedly bought under false pretences. Or at least that is the way most of the media like to portray it.

    The truth is however, that one has to have a seriously low IQ not to notice something fishy in the occupied areas of Cyprus. Most people who are about to part with their life savings will only do so after much deliberation. And when an area that claims to be a legitimate ‘country’ but that ‘country’ that has no embassies, no international flights and no currency of its own, red flags should be popping up everywhere.

    And the Orams are by no description stupid; we have witnessed that, through their calculated actions which went as far as hiring Cherie Blair to represent them in the UK courts. Quite a clever move; albeit with only temporary success. So their claim to be innocent and naïve victims of a subtle inconspicuous plot should not wash. They knew exactly what they were doing and deserve the punishment they receive.

    George Georgiou, Cape Town, SA
    on January 20, 2010
    at 12:01 AM
  • i will agreed 100% withh mr Richard he is well inform !!!! as for so many others british and germans there fate is thesame!! and after the setlers from anatolia there the seconds who dont want reunification of the island !! i am one like mr apostolides who in my land and property they live germans in yalousa !! i hope they feel the ice in there spine with this ruling from the british court!!! as for you mrs caroline please dont be igorerad about cyprus problem !! was never divede by U.Nations but by the help unfortunaly of british and americans with the turkish army!!

    takis .yalousitys
    on January 19, 2010
    at 11:38 PM
  • i will agreed 100% withh mr Richard he is well inform !!!! as for so many others british and germans there fate is thesame!! and after the setlers from anatolia there the seconds who dont want reunification of the island !! i am one like mr apostolides who in my land and property they live germans in yalousa !! i hope they feel the ice in there spine with this ruling from the british court!!! as for you mrs caroline please dont be igorerad about cyprus problem !! was never divede by U.Nations but by the help unfortunaly of british and americans with the turkish army!!

    on January 19, 2010
    at 11:38 PM
  • I feel deeply sorry for these innocent people who have lost there home in Northern Cyprus and could as a result of having to pay compensation and rent to the Greek land owner as ordered by the British court could also loose their home in England. They have been tricked by lying Turkish Cypriot developers and there are hundreds who will tell you that properties issued with TRNC title deeds are safe to buy. THEY ARE NOT AND DO NOT BE FOOLED.The TRNC government is not recognised by any government of the world apart from Turkey. The only legal and INTERNATIONALLY recognised property title deeds are those issued pre 1974 before the ILEGAL occupation of Northern Cyprus. If you own a property built on Greek owned land and you are taken to court you will be ordered by BRITISH court to destroy the property and pay compensation. Your home in the UK could be at risk. Please do not become a pawn in this political battle if you are thinking of buying a property in Northern Cyprus. Please seek advice from ENGLISH lawyers who have experience in overseas property. I guarantee you there is not one lawyer that will advise you to buy a property with a TRNC title deed.

    David Johnson
    on January 19, 2010
    at 11:11 PM
  • In response to “Caroline’s” post, below, she should be aware that Turkish Cypriot (T/C) property in the free areas of the Republic of Cyprus (ROC) remains to this day protected by the authorities (of the ROC). Only a miniscule fraction of T/C owned land has changed hands and this has been under compulsory purchase for large developments such as airports, hospitals, schools and motorways which could otherwise not have been constructed. This acquired property was treated in the exact same manner as Greek Cypriot (G/C) land acquired for the matching projects.

    Not a single piece of T/C land has been sold off to 3rd parties (either to G/C individuals or citizens of foreign countries). Mosques have also been left untouched, unlike orthodox churches in the occupied areas that have been transformed for a variety of uses. Many churches lie derelict whilst their contents have been sold off abroad; some have even been sold to British who have converted ancient churches into dwellings. Even sadder is that some churches are being used as stables.

    The island was not divided by the UN as she claims, it was divided by the Turkish Army.

    I am afraid Caroline’s post is poorly informed and is full of serious inaccuracies.

    Steve, London, UK
    on January 19, 2010
    at 10:59 PM
  • The authorities in the northern part have agreed with the Greek-Cypriot president that the right to property remains in the hand of the original owner.
    The Cyprus government have been accusing for deception those who have been advertising in the UK the so-called "excellent" opportunities for buying land in northern Cyprus. Yet, they have been criticized for propaganda. Now, what was meant to happen eventually, happened. The Orams were deceived by Turkish Cypriot authorities that buying land there was secure. In fact, it was all a political ploy. By encouraging foreigners to buy land in northern Cyprus, belonging to Greek Cypriot refugees, was just a mean to put pressure on the Greek-Cypriots for accepting ANY solution offered to them, because if they don't, their land will be lost. The British couple should have known better what they were doing. And they should have thought twice before buying a land belonging to someone who was forcefully sent away from his land, because of war. It was not an act that honored them, even if they were deceived that there was no problem at all to proceed to such an act. Its just justice.

    Stavros Athanassiou
    on January 19, 2010
    at 09:27 PM
  • I have no sympathy for couples like the Orams who exploited the Turkish occupation and attempted to steal the land of a refugee. It was a disgraceful and immoral thing to do and they deserve to lose this case. It's time all the ex-pats in occupied Cyprus accepted the fact that they knew what they were doing with their greedy, grubby transactions. Justice has caught up with them. Their pathetic attempts to justify their ill-gotten gains says a lot about their selfish motives. But today is not about the whinging Brits. Today is about one decent man trying to get back what was forcibly taken from him. Congratulations to Mr. Apostolides. Justice is the winner today.

    George Stevens
    on January 19, 2010
    at 08:25 PM
  • Atila, this is the modern era, with modern documents proving ownership. So past historical examples are irrelevant. Today, property is secured by international agreements, and this was the case in 1974 as well.

    Inevitably, there will be those that argue Turkish Cypriots should reclaim land to the south. The fact is, there is nothing preventing them from doing so. Laws in the south keep property in guardianship for the original owners, and just recently there was the case of a Turkish family reclaiming a home from northern refugees, and those refugees were sympathetic to the Turkish claim because they had lost homes.

    This is also a case of ethnic cleansing. No doubt Greek Cypriots share the blame and committed crimes against Turks, but there was no greater crime than the invasion which ethnically cleansed 200,000 people. Before anyone argues that the invasion was expedited to prevent a coup and to protect Turkish Cypriots, realize that the coup was put down within the week, the plotters arrested, and the Cypriots and Turks entered peace talks in Geneva. Almost a month later the Turkish side broke from the peace talks--after huge concessions from the Greek side--and they executed the major phase of the invasion.

    on January 19, 2010
    at 08:10 PM
  • I do hope everyone reading this article and associated comments is aware that 18% of the land in the South of Cyprus, including that underneath Larnaca and Pafos airports, plus other prime real estate already sold for £millions, is owned by Turkish Cypriots whose original title deeds are effectively worthless since there is no mechanism by which they can reclaim their land, unlike those in the south who hold titles for the North. This is the fact: there was a war, there was fault on both sides, the island was divided by the UN, both sides lost land, both sides try to get on with their lives, both governments have reissued government title deeds on the other's lost land. The only difference between the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots is that, as the Greeks were richer and in the majority, they managed to win the propoganda war and (worst decision in the history of the EU) be let into the EU - which has now reluctantly inherited the Cyprus problem. As a result, the Greek Cypriots claim the moral high ground. This will not be the end of the story. It must be sorted fairly by governments not unfairly by politically biased individuals hell bent on victimising innocent British retirees such as the Orams, who by the way have behaved with extraordinary grace and calmness for a nightmare six years. This is a sad day for justice. I pray that justice will eventually be done for BOTH sides.

    on January 19, 2010
    at 08:04 PM
  • If you look at it the way Richard Leeds does, then all countries that have occupied land must respect the previous owners. This includes England, Israel, and the United States of America to start the list. The only difference is the people of the countries Great Britain colonized did not have a piece of paper for a deed, nor did the native Americans. Did Great Britain “buy” those lands it took from the native people of the lands they occupied? Nope I do not think so. Did the English “buy” the land from the Palestinians? I’m quite sure they didn’t. Now would an English court hear the plea of a Palestinian that they want to be paid for their land that has been taken from them be the English? This is just a political ploy. Do some research and you will understand why Turkey felt the need to occupy the north to save the lives of peace full people who were persecuted for identifying themselves as Turkish.

    Please let’s think before we speak so we do not sound pathetic.

    Atila Arel
    on January 19, 2010
    at 07:38 PM
  • Buying property in north Cyprus was a huge gamble. The majority of land in the north is owned by Greek Cypriots. The title deeds of the original owners are still valid as confirmed today. The prices that this land was being sold, the likes of underworld criminal Gary Robb, was low enough to fool the greedy and naive, while others decided it was a gamble worth taking.
    The people who bought property in the north have changed their political and moral values to suit their ignorant purchases and will now cry foul over how Turkey is treated by the EU. This isn't the case. This is simply a legal judgement that has set the precedent that the land owners pre-1974 are still the legal owners of the property no matter what a third party convinced them of.
    Furthermore, the people who bought this land are against any reunification deal that may harm their 'investment'. A real shame and fitting end to this morally corrupt practice.

    Richard, Leeds
    on January 19, 2010
    at 06:54 PM

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