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Turkish-Cypriot Owner of Larnaca Airport Property Says Chinese Deal is Illegal

old larnaca airport dealHüseyin Helvacıoğlu, one of the owners of the property on which the old Larnaca Airport was built, says that Hermes Airports and the government have committed an 'illegal act' by leasing the land without his permission to a Chinese investor who wants to build a 600-million-euro exhibition and leisure centre on it.

“The Greek Cypriot company, which seizes a property belonged to us and which signs an agreement for a 600 million Euros Chinese investment without getting permission from us, commits an illegal act," said  Helvacıoğlu in a written statement.

“The building of Larnaka Airport was built without getting permission from us. Now, they try to earn money by renting the properties that belonged to us and others.” He added that “I will not give permission to this. The property is belonged to me and to my brother and I want this property back. Nobody can use these lands without getting permission from us, above all they cannot hand over to others."

Hermes Airports leased the land to Far Eastern Phoenix which plans to build showrooms in a project to bridge China to Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Helvacıoğlu did not specify if he plans to take legal action against the government, the Chinese firm or Hermes Airports over the disputed land.

Helvacıoğlu has certainly thrown a spanner in the works in the much-lauded deal. Cyprus has been divided for over three decades after Turkey invaded and separated the main Greek-and-Turkish Cypriot communities on the island. Case after case over land rights has been taken to various courts, including the European Court of Human Rights, UK courts, local courts and the Immovable Property Commission run by a group of Turkish-Cypriot lawyers. Millions of euros have exchanged hands, but the main underlying abuse of human rights has never been rectified given that Turkish troops prevent effective use of refugees' land in the north, and the enforced 'separation' between the communities inhibits Turkish Cypriots from freely moving back to their own land in the government-controlled areas.

There was no immediate reaction from the government or Hermes Airports.

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