The office of the Presidential Commissioner Photis Photiou received around 50-60 new applications by Maronites asking to resettle in the Turkish-occupied villages of Kormakitis and Karpasha, in the northwestern tip of Cyprus, in the framework of a scheme of incentives provided by the Republic of Cyprus.
Speaking to CNA, Photiou said that the flow of applications continues, both from single persons and families interested to benefit from the government’s resettlement scheme for Greek Cypriots and Maronites.
The two Maronite villages, Karmakitis and Karpasha, attract most interest, said the Presidential Commissioner, however there is also interest for the other two villages with enclaved Greek Cypriots, Rizokarpaso and Agia Triada in the northeast.
Enclaved Maronites in Karmakitis and Karpasha are estimated at 150 people, while another 150 have been already resettled there, he added.
Two more Maronite villages, Asomatos and Agia Marina, remain under the control of the Turkish occupation army since 1974 and are not open for habitation, despite official pronouncements by Turkish Cypriots to the contrary.
Photiou said that apart from the statements coming from so-called officials from the Turkish Cypriot side, there is no formal request for resettlement by the local community councils.
“The relocation scheme continues properly, in line with the terms and conditions of the Republic of Cyprus, on the basis of criteria” in Kormakitis, Karpasha, Rizokarpaso and Agia Triada, said Photiou, noting that he is in constant contact with local community leaders.
He added that his office in cooperation with the Ministry of Labour check that certain conditions are met by eligible persons, and that they are actually staying in the villages.
Benefits received by eligible persons vary from 350 to 500 euros, depending on the marital status, he noted.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.
Turkey occupied 36.2% of the sovereign territory of the Republic and forcibly expelled about 180,000 Greek Cypriots from their homes. Another 20,000 Greek Cypriots, who had remained in the occupied areas, were also forced to eventually abandon their homes and seek refuge in the safety of the government controlled areas. Today, few enclaved Greek Cypriots and Maronites remain in the occupied areas.
(Cyprus News Agency)