first_imgTurkish Cypriot official Kudret Ozersay took a group of journalists last week into Varosha, once a wealthy Greek town bustling with tourists. These days deserted hotels lie in decay alongside the turquoise waters once filled with cheerful holidaymakers.Journalists walked through the shattered glass on a tour through the abandoned town, following Turkish Cypriot announcements that the area could reopen again.“Taking Varosha was not among our targets and part of our plans,” he said. “When the Greek Cypriots started firing, our soldiers followed them and the city came under control without our wish. We closed it to civilians in order to use it later in the negotiations.”The media were taken to three areas of the town where photographs are forbidden and taking them is punishable with up to 15-year jail terms.Turkey’s seventh president Kenan Evren was commander in 1974, and invaded the town made up of hundreds of Greek Cypriot properties.READ MORE: Greek Cypriots may have the option of renting their property in VaroshaGreek Cypriots had won millions of dollars worth of compensation from the Turkish Cypriot side when they took recourse with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). Turkey, however, convinced the ECHR that a solution would be found for these properties domestically, establishing the Immoveable Property Commission (IPC) in 2005 to offer restitution, compensation and exchange for Greek Cypriots.Mr Ozersay told the media that work to record the assets and properties is continuing and efforts to assess infrastructure of utilities and roads will soon begin.The IPC, however, has not worked efficiently and the ECHR has given the Turkish side until 4 November to submit its remarks following the pile-up of cases concerning Greek Cypriot properties.READ MORE: Turkish occupied Varosha may ‘reopen’ for settlement after inventory is takenTurkish Cypriots have resisted working with the IPC. A local court has objected to the return of properties in Varosha following an application from EVKAF, the Turkish Cypriot religious foundation that claims to own the majority of properties in the abandoned city. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

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