Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 27th March 2007.

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Photo of Edward O'Hara Edward O'Hara Labour, Knowsley South

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations she has received on (a) proposals for the development of land in the Morphou area of Cyprus for tourist purposes and (b) proposals to distribute Greek Cypriot-owned land in the area to young Turkish settlers; and what steps she plans to take in response to the proposals.

Photo of Geoff Hoon Geoff Hoon Minister of State (Europe), Foreign & Commonwealth Office

We are aware of property development in the Morphou area, and have received representations from hon. Members, including the question tabled by my hon. Friend in February of last year. As explained in the response the previous Minister for Europe on 7 February 2006, Hansard, column 738, we maintain dialogue with the Turkish Cypriot community leaders on the issue of property, but are unable to control property development in northern Cyprus. We believe that the difficult and complex issue of property is only likely to be resolved in the context of a comprehensive settlement. To this end, we continue to urge both sides to engage constructively with the United Nations to enable settlement negotiations to start as soon as possible.

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Donald Crawford
Posted on 28 Mar 2007 1:35 pm (Report this annotation)

I am quite sure that the Greek Cypriot regime will as always be grateful to Edward O’Hara for his question, and after eleven trips there in the past five years will be eager to welcome him back again this year with all the hospitality for which they are renowned.

Posted on 28 Mar 2007 11:39 pm (Report this annotation)

Andrew Dismore MP posted an EDM on this subject over a year ago allegedly quoting an article from a Turkish Cypriot Daily. Mr Dismore was advised of his factual errors at the time as was Mr O'Hara as a signatory to the EDM.

Morphou area has seen very little investment since 1974 as it was always recognised as an area to be returned to Greek Cypriots in any permanent solution. Since the Greek Cypriot rejection of the Annan Plan to re-unite the island including return of Morphou, investment is being made in the area aimed primarily at trying to retain young people in the region. Contrary to Mr O'Hara's statement, the initiative is aimed at Turkish Cypriots and the land in question is not deeded Greek Cypriot property but common land and outside of the area designated to be returned to Greek Cypriots.

It would appear that Mr O'Hara is merely re-presenting erroenous information presented my Mr Dismore in January 2006.