Committee of Ministers Unlawful property sales in Turkish-occupied Cyprus not consistent with ECHR judgement, says the

Turkey’s compliance with the decision of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in the Cyprus v. Turkey judgement is not consistent with any possible permission, participation, acquiescence or otherwise complicity in any unlawful sale and exploitation of Greek Cypriot homes and property in the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe said.

Representatives of the 47 member states concluded on Thursday a three-day meeting in Strasbourg to oversee member states’ execution of Court judgments. Among others, they reviewed progress regarding property rights of displaced Greek Cypriots, a cluster of the Cyprus v. Turkey judgement, as well as the general and individual measures in the Xenides-Arestis group of cases, again concerning properties.

In their decision, the Deputies recall that in order to provide redress for the violations found by the European Court in respect to property rights of Greek Cypriot displaced persons, the Turkish authorities set up in the northern part of Cyprus in 2005 a restitution, exchange and compensation mechanism.

Furthermore, they note that in its inadmissibility decision Demopoulos and Others adopted in 2010 the European Court concluded that the law which set up this mechanism provided for ‘an accessible and effective framework of redress in respect of complaints about interference with the property owned by Greek Cypriots’ .

In addition, they say that the Court declared the application in the Meleagrou and Others case inadmissible in 2013, as the applicants had not made use of all possibilities for redress offered by that mechanism.

The Deputies note that in the judgment on the just satisfaction of 12 May 2014 in the Cyprus v. Turkey case, the European Court expressed the opinion that the compliance with the conclusions of the main judgment could not be consistent with any possible permission, participation, acquiescence or otherwise complicity in any unlawful sale and exploitation of Greek Cypriot homes and property in the northern part of Cyprus.

The representatives of the 47 member states also noted the information conveyed by the Turkish authorities on the existing avenues within the framework of the above mechanism to address the issue of possible unlawful sale and exploitation of the properties in question and invited them to present additional information on their practical implementation to allow the Committee to assess the effectiveness of these avenues, and if necessary the need for further measures.

They firmly insisted once again that the obligation to pay the just satisfaction awarded by the European Court is unconditional and invited the Turkish authorities to indicate the steps taken for the payment of the just satisfaction awarded in the judgment of 12 May 2014.

It should be noted that with its 2014 judgement, the ECHR awarded Euros 30 mln for the non-pecuniary damage suffered by the surviving relatives of the missing persons, and Euros 60 mln for the non-pecuniary damage suffered by the enclaved residents of the Karpas peninsula.

The Committee of Ministers will review the issue of the property rights of displaced Greek Cypriots again in September 2018.

In a separate decision concerning the Xenides-Arestis and the Varnava and Others v. Turkey cases, the Deputies underlined the importance of the unconditional obligation to pay the damages awarded by the European Court and exhorted again the Turkish authorities to pay without further delay the just satisfaction in these cases. They will reconsider the issue in March 2018.

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

So far, Ankara has not paid damages relating to certain cases concerning missing persons and property claims, awarded by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg to Cypriot applicants, for a number of violations committed in Cyprus during and after the 1974 Turkish invasion, that led to the islands division.

Moreover, with its 2001 judgement the Court found that there had been 14 violations of the Convention, inter-alia regarding Greek-Cypriot missing persons and their relatives, the home and property of displaced persons and the living conditions of Greek Cypriots in Karpas region. In its subsequent May 2014 decision, the Court ordered Turkey to pay Euros 90 mln in damages to enclaved Greek Cypriots and relatives of missing persons.

The representatives of the 47 member States of the Council of Europe examine the implementation of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, in accordance with the supervisory role of the Committee of Ministers, under Article 46 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Source: Cyprus News Agency