The right to property of dispossessed owners, but in particular of current users, will be respected under the new mechanism agreed by the two communities in the reunification talks, the spokesman for the Turkish Cypriot leader said on Thursday.
Speaking on the Bayrak radio station, Baris Burcu said what is paramount is to find a solution that is fair.
“It is important that not only the original owners of properties, but also the current users, benefit from this arrangement. For us, it is on this point that discussions must focus.”
Earlier this week, the leaders of the communities agreed on the creation of an independent property commission.
UN Special Adviser Espen Barth Eide told reporters that dispossessed owners and current users would have various choices regarding their claims to affected properties.
The choices would include compensation, exchange and reinstatement, but exercising any of these options would be subject to agreed criteria.
Affected properties would be categorised. The property commission would be mandated to resolve property claims according to mutually agreed criteria, and would be comprised of an equal number of Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot members.
Commenting on this, Burcu said equal representation ensured that neither side imposes its will on the other.
Media reports both in the north and the south can be misleading, Burcu added.
In particular, he was referring to reports in the Turkish Cypriot press suggesting that Pieter Van Nuffel, the Personal Representative of the President of the European Commission to the UN Good Offices Mission in Cyprus, would be involved in actual negotiations.
“This impression is wrong. Mr Van Nuffel shall provide technical support on issues of the EU acquis when he is asked to by the two sides and whenever the need arises,” Burcu said.
Burcu hailed the progress achieved so far on the property issue, but said that the two sides, after agreeing the broad guidelines, must now get into specifics.
It’s understood the new commission will commence operating once a settlement has been reached, that is, during implementation of reunification. However, the criteria relating to property claims are to be thrashed out during the current stage, prior to any referenda.