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The Republic of Cyprus joined the EU in 2004.
EU law was suspended in northern Cyprus for the purposes of Cyprus's accession, but lawyers argued successfully that the Orams' civil case still falls within the scope of the EU regulation.
Northern Cyprus is self-governing and still occupied by the Turkish army, but is not recognised internationally. Nevertheless, it has become a thriving tourist destination in recent years, and house-building has boomed. Some of those houses have been sold by Turkish Cypriots to foreigners, even though the land they were built on was once owned by Greek Cypriots and its legal status remained uncertain.
Property disputes dating back to 1974 have been one of the main obstacles to efforts to reunify Cyprus. Correspondents say dispossessed Greek Cypriots are now likely to launch more legal battles, which in turn may harden opposition to reunification among Turkish Cypriots.
source: bbc.co.uk (Tuesday, 28 April 2009 )