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Turkey owes more than €100 m in damages to Greek Cypriot enclaved and missing persons’ relatives, says Nicosia

Turkey owes damages in excess of €100 m to enclaved Greek Cypriots and relatives of missing persons, inclusive of interest, following the European Court of Human Rights judgment in the “Cyprus v. Turkey” case.

Nicosia has called on the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to adopt an interim resolution, to mark the Committee’s disapproval for the debt and in a bid to persuade Turkey to finally fulfill its indisputable obligations.

Following the 2001 judgment in the interstate case, the Court awarded in May 2014 €30 m in respect of non-pecuniary damage suffered by the surviving relatives of the missing persons, and €60 m in respect of non-pecuniary damage suffered by the enclaved Greek-Cypriot residents of the Karpas Peninsula.

In a memorandum to Strasbourg, ahead of a Committee of Ministers session, between June 4-6, to supervise the execution of Court judgments, the government of Cyprus notes that the Secretariat calculates the sums due as of 13 March 2019 at €103,493,835.62.

Nicosia also responded to a recent memorandum submitted by Turkey to the Committee of Ministers, saying that Ankara “showed a cynical disregard for the enforcement mechanisms of the Convention” in the case of Cyprus.

With regard to Turkish-occupied Greek Cypriot properties Nicosia refers to an “ongoing programme of  ‘Turkification’ which continues to strip Greek Cypriots of their rights and even rendering any possibility of restitution nugatory.”

In its 17-page-long memorandum, the Republic of Cyprus requested that Deputies adopt a decision in their next meeting, expressing grave concern that Turkey’s unconditional obligation to pay the amounts awarded by the Court in 2014 has been neglected for many years, despite the Committee’s repeated calls.

Moreover, Nicosia calls on the Committee of Ministers to adopt an interim resolution requiring the Turkish authorities to pay without delay the just satisfaction awarded by the Court in those cases.

The memorandum also says that the decision should reaffirm that the transfer (including but not limited to “sales”, “leases” and mortgages”) of, or construction in the occupied areas on, Greek Cypriot properties without the consent of the lawful property owners constitutes an ongoing violation of their property rights, in violation of the Court’s principal judgment.

The decision should also call for immediate steps to prevent such transfers or construction and call for immediate cessation of encouraging or promoting the sale and/or use of Greek Cypriot properties in the occupied areas of Cyprus without the consent of their Greek Cypriot owners.

In a second, 13-page-long memorandum, Nicosia invites the Committee to express grave concern that the unconditional obligation to pay damages in the 33 cases of the Xenides-Arestis group – regarding Turkish-occupied properties – and in the Varnava case – concerning missing persons – has been neglected for many years, despite the Committee’s repeated calls for the Turkish authorities to pay the sums awarded by the Court.

Cyprus also calls on Deputies to adopt an interim resolution requiring the Turkish authorities to pay without delay the damages awarded by the Court in those cases.

It asks moreover the Committee to resume consideration of the issue of payment in Xenides-Arestis group and the Varnava cases at its next meeting in September.

Nicosia puts forward a series of questions in relation to the Turkish-occupied properties of Tititna Loizidou – a Greek Cypriot applicant who insists her properties should be returned to her – and calls upon Turkey to provide information on them. The Committee should resume consideration of the individual measures in the Loizidou case, once Turkey has provided all details and has resumed full cooperation with the Committee, the memorandum concludes.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results.

The European Court of Human Rights sentenced Turkey in numerous cases, brought forward by Greek Cypriots, concerning the violation of their fundamental human rights, following the 1974 invasion, with regards to their property.

(Cyprus News Agency)

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