Nowadays, construction and foreign real estate buys are decreased that can be seen by eyes. Many foreign buyers and investors thinking that there is a problem in the north side of the island. That caused by the Greeks protests. So why the problem or there is a problem really? Let’s start from history and give a brief information.
Cause of the strategical importance of Cyprus, from the Siege of Troy in ancient times, many powers have tried to conquer and claim the island of Cyprus, including the Roman, the Byzantines, the Venetians and the Ottomans. In 1960, the British relinquished control over Cyprus to a power-sharing government of both Greek and Turkish Cypriots. However, the Greek Cypriot elements began to squeeze out the minority Turkish Cypriot representatives and their influence, until events reached boiling point. In 1974, the Turkish authorities intervened the north of the island to protect the rights of the resident Turkish Cypriot residents in Cyprus. The resulting “Green Line” boundary between north and south has been in place ever since, dividing the island. The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) has been established in the north, but is not recognised by the UN Security Council, whilst the Republic of Cyprus in the south has recently become a member of the EU.
During the events of 1974, Turkish Cypriots fled north leaving their homes and lands in the south, and Greek Cypriots did the opposite, moving north to south. It is the status of these abandoned lands on both sides of the border that is at the heart of the Cyprus property issue.
The issue comes to rest on the status of the title deeds attached to land and property in Northern Cyprus. There are four kinds of title deeds in North Cyprus that government setted up.
1- Pre 1974 Turkish Freehold Title Deeds: This is known as the best secure title deed. It implies that property owned by a Turkish Cypriot before and after 1974.
2- Pre 1974 Foreign Freehold Title Deeds: This is known as the best secure title deed as the Pre 1974 Turkish Freehold Title. It implies that property owned by Foreigner before 1974 and recognized internationally.
3- TRNC Exchange Title Deeds: This is known as the second secure title deed. It implies that property owned by Greeks before 1974 and given to Turkish Cypriots after 1974 with exchange to their property on the south side. The government assessed the value of both land and goods left behind, and allocated the land or property in the North, in exchange for the waiving of the rights to their land in the south. This is known as the Esdeger Title Deed as well.
4- TRNC TMD Title Deeds: This is the title for land given to Turkish Cypriots for military or government service, or to Turkish settlers to encourage economic growth in certain parts of the North, after 1974. As with the Esdeger, the original pre-1974 owner of the land or property would have been Greek Cypriot, who abandoned the land or property after 1974.
These deeds are also considered ‘safe’ for potential purchasers. Some land and property have not been claimed by Turkish Cypriots and do not have any deeds at all; these should probably be avoided by investors, as their future status is uncertain.
So, is it safe to buy property in North Cyprus?
If the title deeds are sound, the short answer is yes. Property and land with pre-1974 Turkish Cypriot and foreign owner deeds are not in dispute, and there are probably the safest option for purchasers. Needless to say, land and property with these deeds command a premium. TRNC deeds given in compensation for lands lost in the south are considered the next best option.
Your best safeguard in buying North Cyprus property is to employ an independent solicitor who will examine the title deeds with scrupulous care and inform you of their true status. As with all major investments, seek professional advice at every stage, and never feel rushed or pressured into buying property in North Cyprus. A good estate agent or developer will give you time and space to make up your own minds.