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24 June, 2024
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Israeli investments raise eyebrows in occupied territories

TRNC weighs options amid Israeli land purchase stir

Yiannis Ioannou

Yiannis Ioannou

The large-scale acquisition of land in the Occupied Territories by Israeli citizens and Europeans of Jewish descent is creating interesting dynamics within the Turkish Cypriot community, as well as in Turkish and Turkish Cypriot press reports. According to a post by Sabahattin Ismail, which initiated the discussion, real estate sales have surged following the Hamas attack on Gaza on October 7. Ismail, a journalist and long-time advisor to the historical leader of the Turkish Cypriots, Rauf Denktash, has been at the forefront of this issue.

The Turkish newspaper "Takvim" followed up on Ismail's posts, reporting that 35,000 Israeli citizens or nationals have collectively purchased 25,000 acres of land in the territory of the so-called "TRNC". The newspaper, without citing specific sources for its data, critically questioned whether the presence of 35,000 settlers (whom it refers to as "Zionists") in a total population of 380,000 constitutes demographic alteration. It also noted the establishment of two thousand companies in the past two months (presumably due to the situation in Gaza). Lastly, it attributed the significant increase in the influx of Israeli citizens into the Occupied Territories to the Gaza war and the Ukraine-Russia conflict.

In response to the public airing of this issue in the Occupied Territories, Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar expressed concern. "We have held meetings with our security bureaucracy at the highest level and given instructions to our security services. The construction sector is vital for the economic stability of the 'TRNC'. It is essential to supervise and manage it in the best possible way. If anything threatens our survival, we must respond. Certain measures will be taken," he said. Turkey's ambassador to Nicosia, Metin Feizioglu, added, "The authorities of the 'TRNC' are consulting and cooperating with our Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan. We are monitoring this issue. The problem must be correctly identified and addressed with appropriate measures."

Both the Turkish newspaper "Sabah" and all Turkish Cypriot media outlets report a change in 'TRNC' legislation, where foreign nationals will now be able to purchase only 2 acres of real estate (excluding family members), down from the previous limit of 5 acres. As understood by "K", some of this purchased property may belong to Greek Cypriot refugees, inevitably impacting the property aspect.

[This article was translated from its Greek original]

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