Three quarters of Maraş (Varosha) illegally

occupied by Greek Cypriots’ claims former

Evkaf head

The subject of the return of Maraş or Varosha to the Greek Cypriots has been the subject of fierce debate and counter claims as to who is the rightful owner of this part of the town of Famagusta in Northern Cyprus and the news just published by T-VINE as detailed below looks certain to spark fresh interest in this ongoing issue as to who is the rightful owner of Maraş (Varosha)!

Maras beach - Picture courtesy of T-VINE
Maras beach – Picture courtesy of T-VINE


A series of conferences in London by Taner Derviş, the former head of Evkaf, last month has turned on its head all perceptions about the ownership of the Cypriot town of Maraş. Among the many bold claims Derviş made were that Evkaf land was never sold by Turkish Cypriots to the British and evidence gleaned from title deeds “prove” that Turkish-owned property was “illegally transferred” to mostly Greek Cypriot owners while the island was under British rule.

Under Turkish control and uninhabited since the 1974 War, Maraş (also known as Varosha) is part of Famagusta district on the eastern coast of Cyprus. The town is presented by the Greek Cypriot side as inalienably “theirs”. Resolutions have been passed by the United Nations and European Parliament demanding its return to its “lawful” inhabitants, while South Cyprus leaders regularly put forward motions that Greek Cypriots be allowed to return as a confidence-building preliminary to the Cyprus talks.

Sultan Sellim II-conquered Cyprus - Picture courtesy T-VINE sml
Sultan Sellim II-conquered Cyprus – Picture courtesy T-VINE

Some on the Turkish side have long claimed Maraş is Turkish-owned, but have failed to present any significant facts to support their case. Any information that has been forthcoming, usually via media reports, is often in Turkish and not easy to find for those outside of the island.

Titled ‘Property and compensation rights of Evkaf Foundation and the Issue of Maraş’, Derviş’ comprehensive presentation aimed from the outset to demonstrate that this once fashionable seaside town that was frequently graced by British and Hollywood stars is, in fact, legally Turkish-owned.

Maraş measures 2.3 square miles and, according to Derviş, Evkaf owns the deeds to some 500,000 dönums – pretty much the entire area.

The Ottomans formed Evkaf in Cyprus in 1571

When the Ottomans conquered the island back in 1571, one of the first things they set up was the Evkaf (short for Kıbrıs Vakıflar İdaresi or the Islamic Trust of Cyprus). The Sultan’s edict laid down the principles for its administration. These state that any property bequeathed to Evkaf for the benefit of Cyprus’ Muslim community is ‘irrevocable, perpetual and inalienable’. Should Evkaf be deprived of its property, it must be compensated for loss of use and revenue.

To read this fascinating and indepth article in which it is stated “Three quarters of Maraş (Varosha) illegally occupied by Greek Cypriots’ claims former Evkaf head” please go to  T-VINE click here  to read this and other news.