By Loucas Charalambous
A REPORT, published in Phileleftheros last Tuesday, revealed some very interesting information regarding the sale of properties in the north.
By August 16, the north’s Immovable Properties Committee had received 5,204 applications. Of these, 422 applications were settled, the amount in compensation paid to the owners totalling 133 million pounds sterling. In the Trikomo area alone, there were sales in excess of five million, which would suggest that more than half the village had been sold.
The properties sold so far include two hotels, a factory, a petrol station, many other buildings and large expanses of land. In one case, in the Morphou area, two square kilometres of land was sold for £9.4 million.
And a few weeks ago, the Turkish Cypriot leadership called on Turkish Cypriot businessmen to contact Greek Cypriot owners of real estate and strike purchase deals with them through the IPC, which is based in north Nicosia.
The day after the newspaper report in south Nicosia, we had the annual parade of our political rascals at the conference of Cypriot expats. There, they repeated all the well-known slogans and heroic platitudes about the struggle we are single-mindedly waging for the liberation of Cyprus, the restoration of human rights and the return of all the refugees (What refugees? Most have died) to their homes.
This year’s demagoguery was enriched with a big dose of gas. All our party leaders seized the opportunity to declare that they would never accept the inclusion of natural gas in the forthcoming Cyprus negotiations.
Commerce Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis stressed that the natural gas would only be sold in liquefied form and made it clear there was no way we would agree to supply it through pipelines going through Turkey, “at least not before there was a fair and permanent solution to the Cyprus problem.” A party representative said that linking the natural gas with a Cyprus settlement would constitute national treason.
Meanwhile, a few days earlier, at a gathering in honour of Makarios at the village where he was born, House president Yiannakis Omirou said that “his legacies remain relevant to unyielding struggle we are conducting,” and there would be no surrender to “a solution with Turkish specifications”.
From all the above, it is evident our political scoundrels are making a small mistake in their calculations. The Cyprus problem is not waiting for them to solve it. It is being solved on its own. It is being solved by the Greek Cypriots who had properties in the north and are selling them through the committee, thus helping the achievement of a first class solution of “Turkish specifications”.
Before long, there will be no Greek Cypriot properties in the north, and of course there will be no need for a solution as this will have been imposed by circumstances. What territory are Omirou and the rest of the demagogues going to liberate when there is no Greek Cypriot-owned land in the north? In future conferences of Cypriot expats when the talk turns to liberation, some of the participants will have a good laugh.
Last week my good friend Pavlos Angelides wrote an article in which he explained how he had liberated the last bit of Lapithos territory. He had brought a small bag of earth from Lapithos and placed it in the grave of his mother-in-law Theodora at her funeral. I was at the burial and saw the bag of earth which was taken from Theodora’s orchard in Lapithos. I have to agree with Pavlos’ sad conclusion that this is probably the last Lapithos earth that will be liberated. By the time the next person from Lapithos passes away, all Greek Cypriot properties there may have been sold.
So while Andros Kyprianou, Omirou, Marios Garoyian, Nicos Koutsou, Giorgos Lillikas and the rest of the freedom fighters are waging their unyielding struggle – faithful to the legacy of Makarios – and sermonising about the ideal settlement they dream, the problem is being solved without their assistance.
Economic desperation setting in among Greek Cypriot refugees