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North Cyprus Property Prices Set to Soar as Reunification Talks Start

Posted on 2008-09-16 17:42:11

UN and Cypriot Leaders: High Expectations for Accord in 2009.

Property prices in North Cyprus have shot upwards as Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders have agreed to enter into intense negotiations with the purpose of reunifying the island state. The result has been a sharp increase in North Cyprus property prices.

Because property prices in North Cyprus are half of those in South Cyprus, the current boost in North Cyprus prices has a considerable way to increase before reaching upper market limits.

Prices are expected to continue rising at a healthy rate as the date for reunification approaches. International property experts warn that investors who wait too long to make a move may find themselves buying property at prices nearly equivalent to those in South Cyprus.

"This is definitely a time limited opportunity with a quickly closing window of opportunity to purchase a property at fantastic prices in Western Europe's last emerging market," according to international property investment expert Fred Raskas.

After years of deadlock, the leaders of the Greek and Turkish communities in Cyprus have agreed to renewed negotiations to resolve the dispute that has divided the Mediterranean island since 1974. Cyprus was divided in a 1974 Turkish invasion that followed by a Athens-inspired military coup which sough to ethnically cleanse Cyprus of its Turkish residents.

The fresh move to find a solution was announced July 25 after the Greek Cypriot President Demetris Christofias met with President Mehmet Ali Talat, the Turkish Cypriot leader. The host for the meeting was the UN Chief of Mission in Cyprus Tayť-Brook Zerihoun. The formal negotiations will start Sept. 3. The formal negotiations follow several months of behind-the-scenes talks in which many of the core issues, such a citizenship and property issues, were solved.

In 2004, a referendum based on the UN's Annan Plan won widespread support on the Turkish side of the Mediterranean island, but it was defeated when Greek Cypriots voted it down on the advice of their previous government. That plan called for equal citizenship for people of both sides and a central government in a federal structure.

The President of the European Commission Josť Manuel Barroso welcomed news of the talks. "A unified and integrated Cyprus would benefit not only Cypriots themselves, but the whole of the European Union," he said.

The prospects of a deal in Cyprus looks better than they have for years since the election of Christofias in February. The meeting on July 25 was his fourth with Talat. The Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders are known to have a close personal relationship, thus boosting hopes and expectations that the current talks will lead to the political and economic reunification of the island.

During their meeting, the Cypriot leaders agreed to set up a secure hotline between their two offices to move the peace process forward. Progress was also made on several either key issues, such as cooperation in the areas of environment, cultural heritage, crisis management and illegal immigration.

The first clear sign of improvement in relations came in March, when the two Cypriot leaders opened a north-south crossing point in the heart of Nicosia, the divided capital, as a gesture of good-will.

"The aim of the full-fledged negotiations is to find a mutually acceptable solution to the Cyprus problem which will safeguard the fundamental and legitimate rights and interests of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots," said Zerihoun.

In order to support the efforts of the Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has appointed former Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer as the new United nations special envoy to Cyprus. Downer, who is known for his excellent mediation skills, will be the UN's facilitator at the talks that are slated to start on Sept. 3.

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