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Cyprus urges Council of Europe to resist Turkish “blackmail”

December 1, 2018 at 2:25pm
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The Republic of Cyprus urges the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to “resist what blatantly amounts to blackmail on behalf of Turkey” in relation to the review of a case concerning Greek Cypriot property in the Turkish-occupied part of the island.

In a memorandum submitted by the government of Cyprus, ahead of a Committee of Ministers meeting in Strasbourg next week, it is noted that Turkey is seeking to exert pressure on the Committee to close the supervision of the Loizidou case as a prerequisite for its future cooperation with the human rights organization.

Titina Loizidou, a Greek Cypriot applicant seeks to enforce a 1996 Court judgment for the restitution and peaceful enjoyment of her property in Turkish-occupied Kyrenia, in the northern coast of Cyprus. Turkey says it is not possible to restore the property and that Loizidou can only exchange it or receive compensation for it, pointing to the immovable property commission (IPC) operating in the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus.

Nicosia responds that “it is the Committee, not the IPC, that has the responsibility of supervising the execution of judgments of the Court.”

“For Loizidou to be closed under the current circumstances would reward Turkey for its non-payment and, in particular, for its non-cooperation with the Committee” the Cypriot government says.

Turkey stated last June that it “will not continue its cooperation with the Committee and will not take part in any discussion regarding the execution of judgments related to the Cyprus issue.”

However, Nicosia reiterates the outstanding issues ahead of the Committee’s December meeting, including compensation in 33 cases of the Xenides-Arestis group and in the Varnava case (concerning missing persons) which remain unpaid. Another issue is the examination of individual measures concerning Loizidou’s properties.

Moreover, the applicant seeks additional damages for the period January 1987 – January 1990, for which the Committee was asked to initiate proceedings.

With respect to Loizidou, Nicosia says that Turkey is under an obligation to provide answers to a series of questions, so that the Committee may be in a position to take decisions. These questions have to do with the time the property was transferred to new users, evidence that users are Turkish Cypriots or the development status of the property concerned.

The closure of Loizidou should not be contemplated before such information has been available and fully assessed, the government concludes.

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

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.

CNA