Nicosia proposes measures to protect Greek Cypriot properties from spoliation

The unlawful sale and exploitation of Greek Cypriot properties in the Turkish-occupied northern part of Cyprus is akin to spoliation, says the government of the Republic of Cyprus and asks the Council of Europe to take measures.

According to data presented by Nicosia, illegal developments in the occupied areas covered approximately 279 sq km in 2014, including at least 85 large and medium scale developments.

Nicosia’s intervention comes ahead of a meeting of the Committee of Ministers, in Strasbourg, between December 5 and 7, 2017, to discuss the property rights of displaced persons, an aspect testing Ankara’s compliance with relevant rulings by the European Court of Human Rights.

In its six-page long memorandum, Nicosia underlines that it is Turkeys policy to create a situation in which the return of Greek Cypriots to their homes and properties in the occupied areas becomes impossible – akin to spoliation.

The government of Cyprus reiterates a series of suggestions to the Committee of Ministers, such as the introduction of measures to cease transfers of displaced persons’ properties without their consent, including sales, leases and mortgages.

It also proposes to cease encouraging or promoting the sale and use of Greek Cypriot properties in the occupied areas of Cyprus without their consent, and to introduce measures to halt all construction in the occupied areas on Greek Cypriot properties carried out without the consent of the lawful property owners.

Nicosia says finally that Turkey must pay the amounts awarded by the Court in its judgment of May 12, 2014, which awarded Euros 30 mln to the surviving relatives of the missing persons and Euros 60 mln to the enclaved Greek Cypriot residents of the Karpas peninsula.

Among others, the government of Cyprus notes that Turkey has persistently failed and refused to take measures to suppress the unlawful sale or exploitation of Greek Cypriot homes and property in the occupied areas.

It provides, moreover, data, showing that the extent of the illegal development of property in the occupied areas from 2001 to 2017 has been on the rise.

According to the memorandum, in 2001, illegal development in the occupied areas covered approximately 107 sq km. In 2007, it covered 207 sq km, and in 2014, 279 sq km. This also includes at least 85 large and medium scale major developments.

The government also cites news articles from the Turkish Cypriot press, showing land distribution to family members of Turkish Cypriot politicians, the construction of luxury hotels, land distribution for the construction of universities, and large-scale land concessions to young landless persons.

Turkey is attempting to create an irreversible de fA�cto situation permanently obstructing the return to Greek Cypriots of their properties in the occupied areas of Cyprus it is noted.

The government of the Republic of Cyprus also says that property rights of the displaced persons cannot be dissociated from the property rights of the enclaved and their heirs.

Concerning Turkeys persistent refusal to comply with its unconditional obligation to pay the amounts awarded by the Court, Nicosia says this is not only a flagrant display of its overall dismissive attitude towards proceedings both before the Court and Committee of Ministers, but it also undermines the credibility of the Court itself, putting into question the viability of the system of the protection of human rights.

Turkey must immediately pay the amount of just satisfaction awarded by the Court the memorandum from the Cyprus government concludes.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third. Since then, the fate of hundreds of people remains unknown.

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.

On May 12, 2014 , the ECHR ruled in its final decision that Turkey is obliged to pay Euros 90 mln to the Republic of Cyprus for the violation of human rights during and after the 1974 invasion.

Source: Cyprus News Agency