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Illegal construction in occupied north tackled with various means
2005-04-26 12:52:26

Nicosia, Apr 26 (CNA) -- The Cyprus government has been working very diligently in the recent past to tackle problems that arise from the continuing illegal construction boom in the Turkish occupied areas, Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos has said.

He noted the matter has been brought to the attention of the European Union, adding that recently there has been an increase in illegal building.

''We have been dealing with this issue for some time now, applying legal, diplomatic and political means,'' Papadopoulos said.

He stressed that the construction boom is not a consequence of the rejection by the Greek Cypriots of a UN-proposed solution plan.

''On the contrary, I believe that the Turkish side and the new Turkish Cypriot leadership have intensified these illegal and unacceptable moves precisely because they believe that they have the right to do so, on the basis of the UN plan (the Annan plan),'' he pointed out.

Responding to questions, he said there are a lot of reports about increased building activity in occupied Cyprus and that this is an issue the EU is aware of.

Asked if the Turkish side has Greek Cypriots cooperating with it on such activity, he said there is no concrete proof of that yet.

Papadopoulos was speaking as media reports indicated that there is a massive construction boom on land and property owned by Greek Cypriots, who fled the northern part of the country in the summer of 1974 as the Turkish invading troops were advancing.

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled in property cases brought against Turkey by Greek Cypriots that they remain the legal owners of their land in occupied Cyprus. In one specific case, Ankara has paid compensation amounting to nearly one million US dollars to Greek Cypriot Titina Loizidou and was ordered to allow her access to her property.

Turkey maintains that the property issue must be settled through compensation alone and rejects any notion of giving Greek Cypriots the right to return.

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