Foreign Ministry warns circles seek to end Council of Europe supervision on missing persons issue

The same circles, which sought to terminate the supervision by the Council of Europe of the case of Titina Loizidou – a Greek Cypriot applicant who won a case against Turkey in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) regarding her property in the Turkish-occupied areas of Cyprus – are also seeking to close the surveillance on the issue of the missing and enclaved, but we are doing everything possible in the diplomatic field, Ambassador Spyros Attas, who previously served in the Permanent Representation of the Republic in Strasbourg, has said.

Attas informed on Tuesday on behalf of the Foreign Ministry the members of the House of Representatives’ Refugee Committee about the issue of the compensation awarded by the ECHR in the Fourth Interstate Appeal of Cyprus against Turkey concerning missing and enclaved persons as a consequence of the 1974 Turkish invasion.

He said that all the services of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs raise the issue with their interlocutors and make representations and intensive contacts, recalling that the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, where the issue is examined once a year (it was examined last March), is highlighting Turkey’s responsibilities on the matter.

Ambassador Attas clarified that Turkey was not found guilty of the disappearance of people, but was found guilty of the right to life, that is, of not effectively investigating the fate of these people, and must pay compensations to the families of the missing and enclaved amounting to a total of 103 million euros (90 million plus interest).

He explained that in order to take action against Turkey, a 2/3 majority of the member states is required and this is difficult.

“We will continue our struggle with the ultimate goal of keeping alive the surveillance by the Council of Europe of the implementation of the decision of the Fourth Interstate because there is a danger lurking here too,” he told MPs.

He said that in this matter as well there are efforts on behalf of some known circles “to close the Cypriot cases because they are a burden and they bother.”

What is important, he continued, apart from the payment of compensation, is for Turkey to fulfill its obligations and to cooperate in ascertaining the fate of the missing persons and the circumstances under which they went missing.

Attas noted that Cyprus is making efforts in the diplomatic and legal field and has the support of everyone in the CoE, but this support, he added, must at some stage be turned into decisions that force Turkey to fulfill its obligations.

Loizidou, a Greek Cypriot applicant sought to enforce a 1996 ECHR judgment concerning the restitution and peaceful enjoyment of her property in Turkish-occupied Kyrenia, in the northern coast of Cyprus. Turkey attempted several times in the past to close the supervision of the case in Strasbourg, where the Committee of Ministers holds its sessions. Last September the Committee of Ministers decided to end its supervision on the case.

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.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled, on 10 May 2001, that Turkey’s authorities had never investigated claims by relatives that missing persons had disappeared after being detained, in circumstances where there was real cause to fear for their welfare.

Due to Turkey’s lack of compliance with the Court’s judgment, on 7 June 2005 the Committee of Ministers of the CoE, at the 928th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies, adopted the first ever in an Interstate case, Interim Resolution concerning the judgment of the ECHR of 10 May 2001 in the Fourth Interstate Appeal of Cyprus against Turkey. The Interim Resolution demanded, amongst other things, effective measures to be taken by Turkey to deal at last with the tragically unsolved humanitarian problem of missing persons, 30 years after the Turkish invasion.

Source: Cyprus News Agency