By Jean Christou
MOUNTING DEBT forced a Greek Cypriot at the centre of a land swap with a Turkish Cypriot to resort to the property commission in the north, it was revealed yesterday.
Mike Tymvios wrote to the government three years ago today, expressing his frustration at owning £25-million worth of land in the north, yet was unable to secure a loan to pay his family’s debts.
In its reply ten days later, the government told him there was nothing they could do. The two letters were revealed by state television CyBC last night, as concern mounted over whether the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) would accept the decision of the property commission.
The move would have far-ranging implications for all refugee applicants to the European court, who would then have to use the property commission or sit on their hands until a Cyprus settlement is reached.
On September 22, 2003 Tymvios sent a two-page letter to the President, the Attorney-general and the Finance Minister questioning why he could not obtain the £1.5 million loan he needed to pay off old family debts.
Tymvios said it was “laughable that the courts and the government believed the property to be worthless” as far a securing a loan was concerned”, and accused the state and its organs of being “useless and unreliable”.
He asked help in securing a loan or compensation based on the value of his property.
However in a letter sent ten days later, then Presidential Undersecretary Christodoulos Pashiardis, who is the current Defence Minister, said nothing could be done for him.
“The government and parliament for many years now decided that it’s not correct or realistic to give out compensation,” said the letter.
Handing out compensation would be to “concede actual loss of property”, which it couldn’t do “because of the invasion and illegal occupation”
“If we were to discuss the loss of property we would have to discuss every loss,” the letter said.
Pashiardis told Tymvios that the old debts of the refugees had been frozen since 1974, which meant his debts must post date the invasion. Because of this it was beyond the government’s power to help, the letter said.
“It is beyond the economic power of government to compensate everyone.”. It concluded that the government could only offer moral support.
Copyright © Cyprus Mail 2007