Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash said on Thursday he had received several applications to benefit from a law aimed at resolving property disputes in the divided island.

 

Resolving property issues between Greek and Turkish Cypriots is widely seen as the key to advancing peace on Cyprus.

 

"Yesterday (Wednesday), I received applications from five or six Greek Cypriots who want to settle the issue through compensation," Denktash said in the divided capital Nicosia.

 

Financial compensation

  

"The Greek Cypriots have now seen how appropriate our plan to resolve property disputes through compensation is," he added.

  

The applications were made under a law which allows Greek Cypriots to seek compensation or exchange their property in the north for property belonging to former Turkish Cypriots in the south.


"The Greek Cypriots have now seen how appropriate our plan to resolve property disputes through compensation is" 

Rauf Denktash 

  

The law gives Greek Cypriots a year to make their applications, which will be evaluated by a commission with expertise in law or property evaluation.

 

The new law follows a long-delayed compensation of $700,000 the European Court of Human Rights ordered Turkey to pay in 1998 to a Greek Cypriot woman, Titina Loizidou, for depriving her of her property rights.

 

Divided island

  

Turkey has long resisted the ruling, but recently signalled it was ready to pay up on condition the European Court of Human Rights did not take up similar cases but referred them to Turkish Cypriot authorities.

  

Cyprus has been divided into a Turkish north and a Greek south since 1974 when Turkish troops seized the north in response to a Greek Cypriot coup aimed at uniting the island with Greece.

  

Greek Cypriots living in the north moved south and Turkish Cypriots left in the opposite direction, with both communities abandoning their properties.

  

Displaced Greek Cypriots outnumber Turkish Cypriots by around four to one.