Acquisition of immovable properties, in the occupied part of the Republic of Cyprus: Risks and possible Criminal Offenses

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The Government of the Republic of Cyprus is the only recognized Government on the island – a member of the EU since 1.5.2004, as well as member of the UN and other International organizations. As a result of the Turkish military presence and occupation, the Government of the Republic of Cyprus is not in a position to exercise effective control over the occupied areas of the Republic. The so-called “TRNC” has been condemned and declared as both illegal and invalid by the whole of the International Community through Security Council Resolutions 541/83 and 550/84. With the sole exception of Turkey, no state in the world or International Organization recognizes the secessionist entity.

Presently, it is possible for foreign tourists who visit the government-controlled area of the Republic of Cyprus, to cross to the occupied areas.

However, staying in Greek Cypriot owned hotels in the occupied areas, which are being illegally exploited, would put an individual at great risk of possible legal action on the part of the legal owners.

Travelers entering the Republic of Cyprus via the illegal/closed airports and ports (i.e. all the airports and ports in the occupied areas), are in breach of national laws of the Republic of Cyprus.

Therefore, travelers are urged to travel via the recognized ports of entry, so as to avoid any possible problems (provided that a visa has been granted to you). The legal ports of entry into the Republic of Cyprus are the airports of Larnaca and Paphos and the ports of Larnaca, Limassol, Latsi and Paphos, which are situated in the area under the effective control of the Government of the Republic of Cyprus.

Any entry into the territory of the Republic of Cyprus via any other port or airport in the area of Cyprus in which the Government of the Republic does not exercise effective control (Turkish occupied area) is illegal”.

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.
 
 

Laws and regulations of the Republic of Cyprus impose restrictions on purchasing property in the northern part of Cyprus (area not under the effective control of the Government of the Republic of Cyprus), following the Turkish invasion of the island in 1974.

Violators of these laws take the risk of being arrested upon arrival to the Republic of Cyprus, with being put on a trial and with being imprisoned in accordance with the penal code.

Furthermore, violators of the above laws can face legal action in any of the European Union member states, with all its ramifications.

Therefore, we draw the attention of individuals intending to purchase property in the northern part of the island – it is highly recommended to seek legal advice. Individuals are also reminded that any business transactions are the executer’s sole responsibility.

Individuals citizens interested in purchasing, rental, advertisement or promotion of property in the illegally occupied by Turkey areas which not under the effective control of the Government of Cyprus are strongly advised to seek legal advice and 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.

 

This is in order to ascertain that no violation of the property rights of the legal owners will be affected through the transaction. There is a high probability that purchasers will become the target of private civil lawsuits, and ownership and involvement with that property may be challenged by Greek Cypriots displaced with the Turkish invasion of 1974 and the subsequent illegal occupation of 37% of the island, in its northern part. Kindly be aware that legal cases have been brought before the European Court of Justice and other international bodies.

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled in a number of cases that owners of property before 1974 in the Turkish occupied part of Cyprus continue to be regarded as the legal owners of the property. Greek Cypriots owned some 78% of the private land in the Turkish occupied part of Cyprus.

Purchasers could face legal proceedings in the courts of the Republic of Cyprus, as well as attempts to enforce judgments from these courts in all other EU member states, under the provisions of Regulation (EU) No. 606/2013.

Moreover, Under Article 281 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Cyprus (as amended on 20 October 2006), buying, selling, renting, promoting or mortgaging a property without the permission of the owner (the person whose ownership is registered with the Republic of Cyprus Land Registry, including Greek Cypriots displaced from the occupied area in 1974) constitute a criminal offence. It may result in a European arrest warrant, executable in any of the EU member-states, and also an International arrest warrant. The law also states that any attempt to undertake such a transaction is a criminal offence.

Documents relating to the purchase of property in the Turkish occupied part of Cyprus will be presumed by the Cypriot authorities to relate to the illegal transfer of Greek Cypriot property. Anyone found in possession of these documents could face criminal proceedings under the Criminal Code of the Republic of Cyprus.

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