| Cyprus Problem |Alithia



While in the Greek part of the island, we are struggling to clarify whether the sky is clear and the President of the Republic can become a pensioner from age 45, in the occupied part, the Limassol towers are soaring 30 and 35 storeys high. [Translator’s note: first reference to the recent revelation that Nicos Christodoulides has been receiving a pension since 2018; second reference to the Limassol skyline now being emulated in other parts of the island.] “From the eastern end of the Karpas peninsula to Trikomo, in Mesaoria and from the Kyrenia coastline to Morphou, residential and commercial developments are springing up in an unprecedented manner in the occupied territories, with the majority of them ending up in the hands of foreign investors,” Phileleftheros wrote yesterday in an interesting report. The occupation regime has purposefully engaged in a process of selling the land of Greek Cypriots, thus putting a nail in the coffin of the territory issue, my colleague Nicoletta Kouroushi observes.

Characteristic of this [development], she says, are the pictures sent by readers depicting high-rise developments in the Trikomo area, many of which have been bought by foreign investors. Three months ago in an amazing report by Omega [television] we managed to see images of these towers that suddenly appeared in the Trikomo area, which Turkish Cypriots turned into the town of Skala (after transferring Turkish Cypriots from Skala to there). [Translator’s note: the colloquial name for Larnaca is Skala in Greek and İskele in Turkish] It was a surprise!

The president of the Cyprus Turkish Building Contractors Association Cafer Gürcafer, says that 15,000 housing units were sold in the Trikomo area, 9,000 in the Akanthou area and 4,000 in the Lapithos-Vasileia area. Another 2,400 houses were sold in the centre of Kyrenia, 2,000 in the Lefka area, 1,200 in the Bellapais area and 600 in Karpasia. The vast majority of these housing units (detached houses, apartments, etc.) were sold to foreigners.

The Phileleftheros headline is eloquent: “Golden investments on stolen land.” More apt would be: “Paid investments on stolen land.” The land is stolen, but the investments are royally paid. Indeed, by Russians, Israelis, Turks, English and other foreigners. These are the ones we will find before us tomorrow (if we ever meet them) when we discuss the territory-property issue.

Of all the positive aspects of the Guterres Framework and the convergences reached up until the Crans-Montana talks – which President Christodoulides considers a great achievement, that we came a breath away from a solution – he rejects the provision that gives first say to the user-occupant [of property] and not to the owner-displaced person. The legal displaced person is the owner of the stolen land and the illegal user, the occupant of the paid property. What is the logic of this position? The owner to take back his plot of land and demolish the 30 floors developed on it? And what will happen, then, to Larnaca airport, if the Turkish Cypriot owner of the land has the first say?

One last question that no one is interested in answering: By rejecting the Guterres Framework, [regarding] the legal owner of the plot on which 30 floors of modern and luxurious apartments sit, will the legal owner get the first say on his plot?


Pambos Charalambous was born in Larnaca. He studied journalism in Athens, where he also worked in newspapers during his studies. Since 1982, he has been working at the newspaper "Alithia" as editor, editor-in-chief and director. He has a daily column and has been writing articles continuously for 40 years, apart from the period 2013-2018 when he was director of the Press Office of president Nicos Anastasiades. Their collaboration was terminated due to his disagreement with president Anastasiades' handling of the Cyprus issue.

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