Paphos Mayor Phedonas Phedonos believes the “pillage” of Turkish Cypriot properties in the south is still alive and well, just as the government says it is taking action to ensure fairness for all involved.
Phedonos says he is preparing to send a letter of complaint to the Cyprus Agricultural Payments Organization (KOAP), with accusations of illegal exploitation of agricultural land.
The mayor went on live radio to say that one person who is taking advantage of the land is not only ineligible to be a beneficiary but he is also getting illegal state subsidies for farming the land.
“And he doesn’t even declare this on his tax forms,” said the mayor, adding that this individual was also stealing water from an adjacent building
The government sets strict guidelines that award use of Turkish Cypriot land in the south only to Greek Cypriots who lost property in the north, following the aftermath of the 1974 war and subsequent division of the island.
But Phedonos, who went public last year with names of people who were profiting unlawfully from the programme, said on Thursday that the case with the farmer shows that problems still persist.
Another case involved someone at the exclusive Paphos harbor area, who rents a place for €1000 and then sublets it for €6500.
“And he doesn’t even declare this on his tax forms,” said the mayor, adding that this individual was also stealing water from an adjacent building because he is not entitled to apply for water.
Government says it is taking action
Interior Ministry official Marios Economides, who is the deputy director of the Turkish Cypriot properties unit, says the government is taking action and already 600 cases have been resolved.
“The old practice where Turkish Cypriot properties were assigned by a homie to a homie, friend, or acquaintance is over,” Economides said.
The mayor has been credited for his whistleblowing that helped uncover scandals and lead people to justice.
His mother’s car was a target of a bomb attack last year, with a suspect arrested just last week, following the arrest of a known drug lord who is cooperating with authorities. The arrest took place after a police officer was shot, with the mayor saying it should have happened much sooner and accusing the police of not acting on earlier information.