Action

ACTION CYPRUS

AN HEC PROJECT

Promotion of illegal property development

 

Campaign of Protest

On 13 June 2006 Channel Five television broadcast a programme in which it encouraged its viewers in the UK to take the gamble of illegally buying, developing and selling Greek Cypriot refugees properties in occupied Cyprus in order to make a huge profit despite the enormous risks involved.

 

Please take action to stop Channel Five from promoting the illegal exploitation of refugees property in occupied Cyprus.

The Republic of Cyprus laws on this issue are explained here.
 

Please write your MP who can be found at http://www.parliament.uk/directories/hciolists/alms.cfm

Follow the link and click on email and you will be asked for your post code which will find you your MP, then paste the text of SAMPLE LETTER A, (3956 characters) into the form. If you want to write a letter longer than 4000 characters then go to the MP's home website and look for their home email address. 

Please email OfCom, Channel 5 and the Cyprus High Commission with SAMPLE LETTER B.
stephen.carter@ofcom.org.uked.richards@ofcom.org.uk, dutyoffice@five.tv,
ben.frow@five.tv, cyphclondon@dial.pipex.com

Please also send a copy of each letter to action@hec.greece.org


SAMPLE LETTER A (for your MP)

I am writing to you in order to bring your attention to the Channel 5 television programme “Property Developing Abroad: Northern Cyprus”, which was broadcast on June 13 from 8pm-9pm, and presented by Gary McCausland in which a Nottingham couple Carl and Jane bought an abandoned property in occupied Cyprus in order to turn a profit in ten weeks.

Ninety percent of the land and property in the occupied Cyprus legally belongs to the Greek Cypriot refugees who were ethnically cleansed by Turkey (as has been judged by the European Court of Human Rights). The so-called “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” also known as the “TRNC” or “Northern Cyprus” has been declared “legally invalid” by UN Security Council resolutions 541(1983) and 550(1984) and is not recognised by Great Britain, the EU or by any other country in the world except Turkey the illegal occupier. These UN resolutions also call on all countries not to facilitate this illegal entity in any way, and that includes through trade, tourism or development of property.

Under the Republic of Cyprus law that was passed on 17.3.2005 by the Cyprus House of Representatives, which amends Article 281 of the Penal Code, “the crime of illegal occupation, cultivation, distribution or use of immovable property in the occupied areas carries a prison sentence of up to two years or/and a fine of up to ₤5000”. This law applies to all immovable properly in occupied Cyprus weather the original legal owners are Greek or Turkish Cypriots or foreigners.

Property transfers carried out by the so-called “authorities” of the Turkish occupation regime in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus are illegal in Cypriot law and have also been ruled illegal by the European Court of Human Rights in the verdict of Titina Loizidou vs. Turkey case in 1996. ECHR case law has recently been incorporated into British case law therefore this is also illegal in UK law.

In the programme the presenter Gary McCausland repeatedly encouraged viewers to buy, develop and sell property in occupied Cyprus, which he himself said was "probably Greek Cypriot owned”, in order to make a profit, despite the fact that he knew that it was illegal to do this in Cyprus law, which is also enforceable in the British courts. All of the property that was shown for “sale” in the program was in villages with an exclusive or predominantly Greek Cypriot population before the Turkish invasion.

Despite the fact that presenter knew what they were doing was illegal the presenter persistently encouraged the British couple and viewers to break Cyprus laws and commit criminal offences including serious fraud by buying, converting and selling properties in occupied Cyprus that did not legally belong to them. The stated philosophy of the programme was that buying property was a gamble and that the risks of breaking Cyprus law were worth taking because of the huge profits, which could be made, out of the misery of the Greek Cypriot refugees who were brutally driven out of their homes by the Turkish army.

As my MP I would like to ask you to bring this matter up in Parliament and report this crime to the relevant UK authorities including the police and demand that action is taken against Channel Five which is encouraging the perpetration of fraud and the theft and exploitation of Greek Cypriot property. The adverting of Greek Cypriot refugee’s property for sale without their knowledge or permission (as was being done in this programme) and encouraging people to commit a crime is illegal and Channel Five cannot be allowed to get away with this crime. The British government must pass tough legislation in order to stop British citizens from buying property in occupied Cyprus as long as the illegal Turkish occupation continues in order to uphold the property rights of over 200,000 British citizens who were ethnically cleansed from occupied Cyprus by the Turks and stop their properly from being illegally developed.

 

SAMPLE LETTER B (for OfCom)

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing to you in order to complain in the strongest possible terms about the Channel 5 programme “Property Developing Abroad: Northern Cyprus”, broadcast on June 13 from 8pm-9pm, and presented by Gary McCausland in which a Nottingham couple Carl and Jane bought an abandoned property in occupied Cyprus in order to turn a profit in ten weeks.

This programme was extremely distressing and offensive to myself and over 200,000 Greek Cypriot refugees who were brutally ethnically cleansed from the northern part of the Republic of Cyprus in 1974 by the invading Turkish army and forced to abandon their homes and property which still legally belongs to them.

Ninety percent of the land and property in the areas of the Republic of Cyprus which has been illegally occupied by over 40,000 Turkish troops and over 160,000 illegal Turkish colonists who have been brought to occupied Cyprus in violation of the Geneva Convention, legally belongs to the ethnically cleansed Greek Cypriot refugees (as has been judged by the European Court of Human Rights) and the development, exploitation or use of their property without their permission is illegal in Cyprus, European and British law. The sale, lease or transfer of ownership of any property in occupied Cyprus to anyone except family members of the original pre-invasion owners by right of inheritance is also illegal.

Property transfers carried out by the so-called “authorities” of the Turkish occupation regime in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus are illegal in Cypriot law and have also been ruled illegal by the European Court of Human Rights in the verdict of Titina Loizidou vs. Turkey case in 1996.  ECHR case law has recently been incorporated into British case law therefore this is also illegal in UK law.

In the programme “Property Developing Abroad: Northern Cyprus”, the presenter Gary McCausland repeatedly encouraged viewers to buy, develop and sell property in occupied Cyprus, in order to make a profit, despite the fact that he knew that it was illegal to do this in Cyprus law, which is also enforceable in the British courts.

Property that was placed illegally "for sale" in four predominantly Greek Cypriot towns and villages in the occupied Kyrenia district was featured in the programme. Three villages, despite the fact that their original inhabitants were Greek Cypriots alone, were given Turkish names in an attempt to conceal their identity.

A Greek Cypriot property in the village of “Lapta” which in Greek is called Lapithos and which originally had 3196 Greek Cypriot inhabitants who made up its entire population in 1974 (and no Turkish Cypriot inhabitants al all) was shown for sale, and the British couple featured in the programme were given a tour around it and told how they could make a profit from buying it, doing it up and reselling it. After this another Greek Cypriot property, in upper Lapta (upper Lapithos) was shown to the couple and the presenter gave them encouragement to buy it so as to turn a profit on the sale. Then later on, yet another property which this time was located in the village of “Karaoglanoglu” which is known as Ayios Georgios in Greek and which was a village with a 75% predominantly Greek Cypriot before it was one of the first villages to be ethnically cleansed in the brutal Turkish invasion, was shown for sale and the couple were given tour around it and tips on how to illegally exploit it.

It was totally morally reprehensible that no one involved in the making of this programme took it upon himself or herself to find out who these properties legally belonged to from the Republic of Cyprus land registry which is the only legal authority on the island sand whose jurisdiction extends to all of the islands territory. Any simple investigation would have uncovered that all the property in the villages, which were exclusively populated by Greek Cypriots belonged to Greek Cypriot refugees and that they were being sold illegally and without the true owners knowledge let alone permission.

Eventually Gary McCausland and the couple came to upper Kyrenia where the Greek Cypriots had originally made up 80% of the population before Turkey ethnically cleansed them on 20 July 1974, and another property was shown for “sale”. After the tour of the property the couple expressed concern that legal action could be taken against them by the Greek Cypriots if they were to buy the property, which indicates that they knew what they were doing was illegal.

It was then revealed that the property in upper Kyrenia that they were discussing and which they eventually decided to buy, despite being apprised of the legal situation was being sold by, quote, "an English guy who was still waiting to get the title deeds through", in other words he didn't have any proof of true ownership nor did the programmes producers before they decided to make an example of it, and after this was revealed the presenter Gary McCausland admitted that this property was, quote, "probably Greek Cypriot owned".

Gary McCausland knew full well that the title and transfer deeds issued by the occupation regime were illegal and are not recognised by anyone outside of the occupied areas and he even stated this himself in the programme. He also believed that the property really belonged to Greek Cypriot refugees but the programme continued to give encouragement to the coupe despite this, even though a criminal offence was being committed. No genuine Republic of Cyprus title deeds were produced to show the couple as proof of ownership of any of the featured properties and the couple did not ask for proof of ownership nor did they make any checks with the Cyprus authorities. On the one count it is illegal to transfer or sell property in occupied Cyprus, period, and on the other count the property they “bought” most likely belonged to Greek Cypriots who did not know it was being sold.

This couple had previously said that they had already acquired other property in occupied Cyprus before this programme was made, but once again, the identity of the true owners of their property was not checked out nor were questions asked if it was acquired legally, ie. from family members who owned it before the Turkish invasion, which is the only way property in the occupied areas can be transferred in Cyprus law.

It is clear that the property that was bought by the couple on the show located in upper Kyrenia was not being transferred by family members to them by right of inheritance through the legal authorities of the Republic of Cyprus nor was it being put up for sale by its true owner nor did the producers of the programme see fit to make checks. Instead the programme continued in its purpose to encourage the illegal exploitation of property, owned predominantly by Greek Cypriots in occupied Cyprus and the couple were next seen after having bought this property, with no checks made as to its legality.

The presenter persistently encouraged viewers to break Cyprus laws and commit criminal offences including serious fraud by selling properties that did not legally belong to them, even after he had stated that Cyprus court judgments are enforceable in the UK.

The couple in the programme used the services of a British builder (who they said they has used before) who stayed in the occupied areas illegally, and made substantial structural changes to the Greek Cypriot refugee properly which the presenter encouraged them to develop. The presenter at this point referred to the planning authorities in the occupied areas as if they had legal validity when in fact the have no validity whatsoever. The structural changes were therefore carried out without planning permission given by the legal Cypriot authorities and were clearly illegal.

Under the Republic of Cyprus law that was passed on 17.3.2005 by the Cyprus House of Representatives, which amends Article 281 of the Penal Code, “the crime of illegal occupation, cultivation, distribution or use of immovable property in the occupied areas carries a prison sentence of up to two years or/and a fine of up to ₤5000”. This law applies to all immovable properly in occupied Cyprus weather the original legal owners are Greek or Turkish Cypriots or foreigners.

No consideration was given anywhere in the programme to the distress caused to the Greek Cypriots who were ethnically cleansed nor were the moral issues discussed about investing and trying to make a profit from the product of ethnic cleansing and other peoples misery and hurt. Instead of being neutral the programme repeatedly tried to justify the illegal development of property in occupied Cyprus.

The presenter claimed that the EU had agreed to give 92,000,000 pounds in aid to "Northern Cyprus". This is not true in any way. He also claimed that the EU and UN wanted to end the isolation of “Northern Cyprus” and this is not true either. The so-called “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” also known as the “TRNC” or “Northern Cyprus” has been declared “legally invalid” by UN Security Council resolutions 541(1983) and 550(1984) and is not recognised by Great Britain, the EU or by any other country in the world except Turkey the illegal occupier. These UN resolutions also call on all countries not to facilitate this illegal entity in any way, and that includes through trade, tourism or development of property.

Aid of 139,000,000 Euros was allocated by the EU for the integration of the Turkish Cypriots into the economic structures of the Republic of Cyprus and was not given to the illegal Turkish occupation regime or “North Cyprus” as the presenter falsely claimed. This aid was to be distributed to Turkish Cypriots through EU mechanisms under the auspices of the legal government of the Republic of Cyprus under the condition that it would not be spent on Greek Cypriot property, and would not used by or facilitate illegal entity in any way. The aim of the UN and EU is to reunify Cyprus as one single state, and bring an end to the illegal occupation of 40% of the Republic of Cyprus territory by 40,000 illegal Turkish troops and 160,000 illegal Turkish Colonists whose presence has brought about the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots and prevents the Greek Cypriots from returning to their homes. The isolation of the Turkish Cypriots can only be ended when the Turkish troops and colonists leave Cyprus and the Greek Cypriots return to their homes in the north, and this is not helped by Channel Five encouraging the illegal development of property in occupied Cyprus.

Gary McCausland described the occupied areas if the Republic of Cyprus as unspoiled but no mention was made of the 40,000 illegal occupation troops, the 160,000 illegal Turkish colonists transferred to the occupied areas in violation of Article 49 of the Geneva Contention or the 500 Greek Orthodox churches that were systematically looted, desecrated, vandalised, destroyed, or turned into stables, hotels, casinos, clubs and brothels by the Turkish occupation regime.

This was not a documentary programme, which was intended make people aware of the issue of property development in occupied Cyprus from a neutral stand point, nor was it made in a documentary style. The full facts were not given to the audience and the programme was blatantly political, one sided and inaccurate, with 95% of the airtime being devoted to encouraging people to illegally develop property in occupied Cyprus and to give them advise on how to perpetrate this crime and make money form it.  The whole issue was treated in the manner of taking a calculated risk.

The program concluded by showing the viewer how the prices of each of the usurped Greek Cypriot refugee’s properties, which it was advertising for sale, might have risen if the properties had been bought from their illegal usurpers and developed. The final message of the show as stated by the presenter himself was that the risk of being brought to justice for committing a criminal offence was worth taking because of the profits that could be gained from illegally exploiting usurped Greek Cypriot property, and that the feelings of the Greek Cypriot refugees and the laws of Republic of Cyprus didn’t matter much.

It is possible that the illegal Turkish occupation regime or the government of Turkey gave the makers of this programme, (either Channel Five or Granada Television), financial or other incentives in order for it to be made so as to encourage the usurpation of Greek Cypriot property in occupied Cyprus and encourage recognition of the illegal Turkish occupation regime. I demand that OfCom investigate if this is correct.

How did the production team travel to occupied Cyprus. Who paid for the flights and did they enter occupied Cyprus through the legal points of entry on the UN buffer zone from the free areas or did they use the illegal ports and airports in the occupied areas which are built illegally on Greek Cypriot land and have been declared illegal points of entry by the Cyprus government.

The map that was displayed during the show labelled the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus as "Northern Cyprus" as if this was a legitimate state and labelled the illegal airport in the occupied village of Tymbou, which is built on Greek Cypriot owned land as "Ercan International Airport". This airport is illegal and has been declared closed to all traffic and an illegal point of entry by the Cyprus government. Its use is a violation of air-traffic regulations and the Chicago Convention and is not recognised as an international airport by any airline outside of Turkey, and anyone entering Cyprus through this illegal airport or any other illegal port in the occupied areas is committing a criminal offence in Cyprus law and liable to a fine or imprisonment. They are also liable to prosecution for trespass by the legal Greek Cypriot owners of the land.

The Channel 5 programme “Property Developing Abroad: Northern Cyprus”, Presented by Gary McCausland not only violates OfComs code of conduct for broadcasters, in being offensive, politically motivated, biased, one sided, inaccurate, and morally unjustifiable and reprehensible but it is also encouraging criminality and therefore I also demand that OfCom find out who the true owners of the exploited properties (including the land) that were featured were, and inform the Police and the authorities of the Republic of Cyprus so that criminal proceedings can be initiated against anyone involved in the making of this programme.

It is illegal for someone in this country to encourage someone else to commit a crime and the Channel 5 programme “Property Developing Abroad: Northern Cyprus” did just that. Therefore I demand that OfCom take the severest action that is at its disposal against Channel Five, including revoking its licence to broadcast and also ban the programme from being sold to any other broadcaster, or distributed by any means.

I hope that OfCom will do the right thing.




Yours faithfully,



cc. Stephen Carter, Chief Executive, OfCom
cc. Ed Richards Chief Operating Officer, OfCom
cc. Ben Frow, Programme Controller Channel Five
cc. Cyprus High Commissioner


ORIGINAL CAMPAIGN

Send protest emails to stephen.carter@ofcom.org.uk, ed.richards@ofcom.org.uk, dutyoffice@five.tv, ben.frow@five.tv

Please email Ben Frow, the Controller for this programme at:
ben.frow@five.tv
or phone: 020 7421 7118 (+44 2074217118)

Please email Channel 5 duty office at:
dutyoffice@five.tv
or phone 08457 050505

Please contact Channel 5 at:
22 Long Acre
London WC2E 9LY
Phone 7550 5555

Channel 5 website is: www.channel5.co.uk

 
SAMPLE LETTER

Dear Sir,

It has come to my attention that Channel Five is planning to show a programme in the series “Property Developing Abroad” Presented by Gary McCausland in which a “Nottingham couple Carl and Jane buy an abandoned property in northern Cyprus, hoping to increase its value by 20,000 in 10 weeks” according to TV guides.

I would like to draw your attention to the fact that the content of this programme not only violates OfCom’s code of conduct but it is also illegal as well and being extremely disturbing and offensive to over 200,000 Greek Cypriot refugees who were brutally ethnically cleansed from the northern part of Cyprus in 1974 by the invading Turkish army and forced to abandon their homes and property which still legally belongs to them.

Ninety percent of the land and property in the areas of the Republic of Cyprus which have been illegally occupied by over 40,000 Turkish troops and over 160,000 illegal Turkish colonists who have been brought to occupied Cyprus in violation of the Geneva Convention, legally belongs to the ethnically cleansed Greek Cypriot refugees (as has been judged by the European Court of Human Rights) and the development, exploitation or use of their property without their permission is illegal in Cyprus, European and British law. The sale, lease or transfer of ownership of any property in occupied Cyprus to anyone except family members of the original pre-invasion owners is also illegal.

Over 400,000 Greek Cypriots most of whom are refugees or have relatives who are refugees reside in the UK today and are prevented from returning to occupied Cyprus by the Turkish occupation regime.

The programme "Property Developing Abroad: Northern Cyprus" which was due to be shown on 30th May at 8.00 pm Channel Five and has now been postponed until 13th June, 8.00pm shows a British couple illegally developing Greek Cypriot owned property without the consent of its legal owners. This action violates the laws of the Republic of Cyprus and by example is encouraging viewers to do the same and thereby commit a criminal offence, which is punishable with two years imprisonment and a heavy fine. Because of the severity of the crime European Arrest Warrants can be issued for the arrest and immediate extradition of the perpetrators and abettors of this crime residing in any EU member state. Further more under EU law, to which Britain has signed up to, the sentences of the Cyprus courts can be enforced in Britain.

The so-called “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” also known as the “TRNC” or “Northern Cyprus” has been declared “legally invalid” by UN Security Council resolutions 541(1983) and 550(1984) and is not recognised by Great Britain or by any other country in the world except Turkey the illegal occupier. These UN resolutions call on all countries not to facilitate this illegal entity in any way.

The only legal political entity on the island of Cyprus is the Republic of Cyprus, which is the legal government and represents all of the people on the island including both Greek and Turkish Cypriots and whose authority and jurisdiction extends to all parts of the island including the occupied areas. Under the laws of the Republic of Cyprus and the EU it is illegal to enter the island through any ports or airports in the areas illegally occupied by over 40,000 Turkish troops since 1974.

All points of entry in the occupied areas of Cyprus have been declared closed by the government of Cyprus and anyone entering through them is committing a criminal offence, which is punishable by the Cyprus and EU courts. Since the illegal Erkan airport in occupied Cyprus is built illegally on land belonging to over 200 ethnically cleansed Greek Cypriots from the village of Tymbou anyone entering Cyprus through this airport is liable to arrest in any EU member state and can be sentenced to two years imprisonment. Any encouragement by Channel Five to travel to occupied Cyprus illegally, through any ports except those of the free areas and via the UN controlled crossing points, is also illegal.

If Channel Five shows the episode of the programme in question it will be abetting an international crime therefore I demand that Channel Five does not transmit the programme "Property Developing Abroad: Northern Cyprus" at any time and that it does not attempt to sell the same programme to any other broadcasters either in the UK, EU, or anywhere else in the world. I also demand that the personal details of the Nottingham couple who have illegally exploited this Greek Cypriot owned property, including information about how they acquired possession of this property and how they have exploited it, are conveyed to the authorities of the Republic of Cyprus and the Cyprus High Commission in the UK who will take further action.

I hope to receive a positive response from you otherwise I will initiate further action against Channel Five.


Yours faithfully,
 


 

cc. Stephen Carter, Chief Executive, OfCom
cc. Ed Richards Chief Operating Officer, OfCom
cc. Ben Frow, Programme Controller Channel Five


 
THANKS
 
We would like to acknowledge with thanks and relief the prudent decision of Norwich Union to remove sponsorship from the Property Developing Abroad on Channel 5.


nuceo@norwich-union.co.uk, tanya.veingard@norwich-union-life.co.uk 

A grieving mother holding photos of her missing son.
1600+ men, women and children still missing
Greek Cypriots taken prisoner and transported to Turkey.
up to 70,000 held hostage in concentration camps

A Greek Cypriot napalmed by the Turkish air-force.
5000+ massacred
Greek Cypriots subjected to humiliating and degrading treatment.
thousands raped and tortured
200,000 ethnically cleansed

Christian gave stones smashed by the Turks.
500+ churches desecrated or destroyed

The murder of Tasos Isaac.
murders of refugees continue to this day

The murder of Solomos Solomou.

2001/2006 HEC and Argyros Argyrou. Updated on 15 June 2006.