Wednesday, April 22, 2009

URGENT!: Community Action Alert: Protest NY Times Sales for Illegal Turkish-Military Occupation

For Immediate Release: April 22, 2009

Contact: Nikolaos Taneris, New York, Tel. 1-917-699-9935

NEW YORK--The Cyprus Action Network of America (CANA) encourages all activists,
supporters and readers to participate in the following Community Action Alert,
forwarded from "Hellenic Organization of University Graduates of America"

Community Action Alert


In response to an article in The New York Times Great Homes & Destinations
section on April 22, 2009 promoting property for sale in occupied northern
Cyprus , we encourage everyone to write a letter of protest. For your
information, below please find:

1. Points that may be used in your letter

2. Email addresses at the NY Times

3. The article itself

Points that may be noted in your letter or email:

*The northern part of the Republic of Cyprus , under Turkish military occupation
since the Turkish invasion of 1974 and as such, the illegal secessionist entity
in the occupied area of Cyprus does not have jurisdiction to perform valid
transfers of property ownership

*Thus, foreign citizens interested in purchasing property in the area under
Turkish military occupation are strongly advised to thoroughly examine the legal
ownership status of the property concerned, through the Lands and Surveys
Department of the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Cyprus, in order to
ascertain, at first, that no violation of the property rights of the legal
owners will be effected through the transaction, and, second, to safeguard that
the purported seller is the true owner of the property and can transfer a valid
title. Given that more than 4/5 of the property in the areas situated in the
north of the buffer zone belongs to forcibly displaced owners (the term ‘owners’
includes the Republic of Cyprus), one can reasonably reach the conclusion that
this advertising material relates to illegal activities, even if at the time of
its discovery there is no evidence linking the object of the advertisement to
specific displaced owners.

*The European Court of Human Rights, in its Judgment of 18 December 1996, on the
individual application of the Greek Cypriot displaced owner from Kyrenia, Mrs.
Titina Loizidou, against Turkey , and in the Fourth Interstate Application of
Cyprus against Turkey of 10 May 2001, upheld the rights of the refugees to their
properties. In the Loizidou case, the Court ordered the Government of Turkey to
compensate the applicant for the time period of deprivation of use of her
property and to provide full access and allow peaceful enjoyment of her property
in Kyrenia. The right of the displaced owners to their properties was
reconfirmed in the most recent decision of the European Court of Human Rights
(Dec. 2005) regarding the application of Myra Xenides- Arestis v. Turkey.

*Greek Cypriot owners may also bring civil action against usurpers of their
property before the competent civil Courts of the Republic of Cyprus . In its
judgment of 15 November 2004 in the case of Meletios Apostolides v David and
Linda Orams, the Nicosia District Court found the Defendants liable for trespass
in the property of the Plaintiff, ordering them to demolish the villa and other
buildings erected on the property, surrender vacant possession to the Plaintiff
and pay damages.

*Under the laws of the Republic of Cyprus , the exploitation of property
registered in the name of another, constitutes a criminal offence, for which a
European arrest warrant, executable in any of the 27 EU countries, and an
International arrest warrant could be issued.

*In reference to travel to and from occupied Cyprus -- The so-called “ERCAN”
airport is not recognized by ICAO, which is the highest international authority
on legal issues relating to civil aviation in general. ICAO’s policy on matters
relating to Cyprus is in conformity with that of the United Nations and the
international community. Consequently, ICAO recognizes only the Republic of
Cyprus and its Government as the sole representative of the whole island. Any
possible use by international traffic, of the illegally operating airports, such
as “ERCAN” (TYMBOU), violates International law, U.N. Security Council
resolutions, E.U. positions and contravenes the ICAO and the EUROCONTROL
Conventions, and their respective norms, standards, procedures and recommended
practices. This means there are problems in air safety as there is no interface
between the illegal airport and legitimate entities, and that the airline
industry and the pilots express concern over the existence of the illegal
airport (Ercan), which confuses pilots and threatens air safety.


Arthur Sulzberger Jr., Chairman & Publisher:

Scott H. Heekin-Canedy, President, General Manager:

Letters to the Editor :




April 22, 2009 (published April 21, 2009)

International Real Estate, NY Times

For Sale In... Cyprus


£919,000 ($1,337,329)

Built in the 19th century by a wealthy Ottoman family, this property offers a
350-square-meter (3,767-square-foot) main house and two guest cottages. It is in
the center of Ozankoy, a village in the foothills of the Kyrenia mountains, five
miles east of the coastal town of Kyrenia , whose historic harbor is a popular

The main house, built of Cypriot stone and with a timber roof, has three
bedrooms and three baths, a large kitchen and dining room. Though it has been
renovated several times, and now has air-conditioning and heating, it retains
its rustic charm, including high ceilings with exposed beams and Ottoman
windows. It is being sold furnished, with antique furniture and Turkish carpets.

The first guest cottage has about 130 square meters (1,399 square feet) of
space, with two bedrooms; the second covers 50 square meters (538 square feet)
and has one bedroom. Also on the property are a swimming pool, gardens with
mature avocado and orange trees, original stone paths, and a small structure
with a Turkish bath and two earthen ovens for outdoor cooking.

The 3,000-square-meter (0.75 acre) property, surrounded by stone walls, is
reached through a large wooden door. Restaurants and cafes are within walking
distance, and a beach is three miles away. Ercan International Airport is about
30 minutes away.


Real estate prices in the northern portion of Cyprus are relatively low compared
with those elsewhere in the region, said Cameron Deggin, a director at Place
Overseas, a London-based real estate firm. This is partly because of the
complicated political situation on the island, which has been divided since

The southern two-thirds of the island is internationally recognized as the
Republic of Cyprus and is predominantly Greek Cypriot. The northern third, which
is home to a Turkish Cypriot community, calls itself the Turkish Republic of
Northern Cyprus , though it is recognized by Turkey alone. Clashes over the
years led the United Nations to set up a buffer zone, also known as the green

From 2002 to 2007, the real estate market in the northern part of Cyprus was
“extremely buoyant,” Mr. Deggin said. Before the boom, a typical three-bedroom
villa with a garden and pool cost £40,000 to £50,000 ($58,208 to $72,760); today
it might run £80,000 to £100,000 ($116,416 to $145,520), he said. Most real
estate in north Cyprus is priced in British pounds, Mr. Deggin said.

In 2003 the increase was fueled by the easing of travel restrictions across the
green line.

Peace talks to unite the island have resumed recently, though parliamentary
elections held in northern Cyprus on April 19 suggest a tough road ahead. And
since the start of the global recession, prices have softened 10 to 15 percent,
said Mark Unwin, managing director at Unwin Estates, a real estate company based
in Karaoglanoglu, a suburb of Kyrenia.


Cyprus is a former British colony; the majority of foreign buyers in the
northern part of Cyprus are British, but there is a growing population of
Russian buyers, Mr. Unwin said.


Foreign buyers are limited to new properties smaller than one donum (14,400
square feet) or pre-existing homes built on five donums (72,000 square feet),
said Mustafa Sener, a lawyer in Kyrenia who handles real estate. Buyers are also
limited to owning one property, he said. They are required to obtain a special
ownership permit, in a process involving many local agencies and Interpol, and
sometimes lasting as long as two years, according to Mr. Sener. (While awaiting
approval, buyers can take occupancy, Mr. Unwin explained.)

Lawyers’ fees are about £1,350 ($1,965), Mr. Sener said. (The use of a lawyer is
generally recommended.)

Given the delicate political situation, newcomers to the market in northern
Cyprus should also be aware of the type of title deed they buy. If the island
were reunified, Greek Cypriots who owned property in northern Cyprus before
fleeing south might come forward to seek compensation, Mr. Sener said.

To avoid complications, he advises cautious buyers to seek a property with a
Turkish title deed, which indicates ownership by a Turkish Cypriot before 1974.
This title is internationally recognized and carries no risk to the buyer.

Still, Mr. Sener believes that any property developed since 1974 carries minimal
risk, as potential compensation to Greek Cypriots would be based on the pre-1974
value of the land alone, which is likely to be nominal.

Other costs include a 0.5 percent stamp duty, a 5 percent value-added tax and a
6 percent land-registry fee, which can be reduced to 3 percent for first-time
buyers, Mr. Sener said. Real estate agents’ fees are paid by the seller and
typically range from 3 to 5 percent, Mr. Deggin said; mortgages are uncommon,
and a majority of foreigners pay in cash.


Travel and business guide:

Travel guide:


Turkish; Turkish Lira (1 Turkish lira equals 60 cents)


Property taxes are about £2,500 ($3,638); the house has a caretaker, whose
annual salary is about £5,000 ($7,276), said Mr. Deggin.


Cameron Deggin, Place Overseas,, 011-44-20-8371-0059


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