News Local Varosha's legal inhabitants do not object to UN taking over 'ghost-town'

Varosha’s legal inhabitants do not object to UN taking over ‘ghost-town’

Turkey’s plan to reopen the fenced up area of Famagusta, known as Varosha, is a further violation of their property rights, Greek Cypriot applicants say in a letter sent to the Council of Europe.

The applicants also state that they have no objection to the United Nations taking over Turkish-held Varosha.

Lawyer Achilleas Demetriades, representing Greek Cypriot applicants in the “Xenides-Arestis” group of cases versus Turkey, on Tuesday sent the letter to the Secretariat of the Committee of Ministers, ahead of its meeting, between September 29 and October 1, 2020, in Strasbourg.

” Turkey’s continuous disregard to the Committee’s Decisions and the three interim Resolutions in 2008, 2010 and 2014” Demetriades notes in the letter.

“Ankara’s a la cart approach to Human Rights continues and the Applicants are left without a remedy despite the Committee’s efforts.”

He also argues that it is unacceptable, to say at least, for the Committee to allow Turkey to get away with nonpayment of the final Judgments.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) awarded compensation for loss of use of the said properties belonging to Cypriots applicants, for various dates between 1990 and 2012.

Despite repeated calls by the Committee of Ministers, which oversees the execution of ECHR judgments, Turkey has paid no compensation to this day.

In his letter, the lawyer also points to Ankara’s failure to recognize the applicants’ ownership of their properties as established by the Court.

He also says that a number of applicants have properties in the fenced up area of Famagusta, which remains inaccessible to them since 1974 because of the presence of Turkish military forces.

Demetriades also points to reports in the local press, saying that Turkey is planning to allow the applicants’ properties to be used by third parties, to attract tourism and for economic benefit.

“This is clearly a further violation of the Applicant’ property rights and is designed to further hinder the restitution of possession to the Applicants” he notes, adding that this is also in breach of relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

“The Applicants clearly have no objection to the United Nations taking over Varosha” the lawyer concludes in his letter.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

Turkey occupied 36.2 percent of the sovereign territory of the Republic and forcibly expelled about 180,000 Greek Cypriots from their homes.

Another 20,000 Greek Cypriots, who had remained in the occupied areas, were also forced to eventually abandon their homes and seek refuge in the safety of the government-controlled areas. Today, few enclaved Greek Cypriots remain in the occupied areas.

Turkey still deprives the displaced Greek Cypriots of their right to return to their homes and properties. This has given rise to appeals to the European Court of Human Rights, which has issued major decisions on Turkey’s violations of the European Convention.

Varosha, the fenced off section of the Turkish occupied town of Famagusta, is often described as a ‘ghost town’.

UN Security Council resolution 550 (1984) considers any attempts to settle any part of Varosha by people other than its inhabitants as inadmissible and calls for the transfer of this area to the administration of the UN.

UN Security Council resolution 789 (1992) also urges that with a view to the implementation of resolution 550 (1984), the area at present under the control of the United Nations Peace-keeping Force in Cyprus should be extended to include Varosha. (CNA)

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