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Cyprus Cyprus Talks

IPC land compensation remedy failing Greek Cypriots, says lawyer (updated)

Immoveable Property Commission offices in northern Nicosia

By George Psyllides

Α Turkish Cypriot lawyer is prepared to file an appeal at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) against the effectiveness of the Turkish Cypriot breakaway state’s immovable property commission (IPC) set up to deal with Greek Cypriot claims for compensation for their occupied properties.

The ECHR had accepted the IPC as an effective domestic remedy for such claims in the north, which the Strasbourg-based court considers Turkey’s subordinate local administration.

However, the IPC may not be that effective since it has so far failed to pay the £2.1mln sterling awarded to a Greek Cypriot for a claim concerning 60 acres in Kyrenia.

Lawyer Murat Hakki did not rule out others following suit since over 100 Greek Cypriots who applied to the IPC have not yet been paid.

“We will go to the ECHR and the whole issue (the existence of the IPC) can blow up and certainly it will cause embarrassment to the commission over the fact that they delay making the payments for over a year-and-a-half,” Hakki told the Cyprus News Agency.

Hakki sought to secure his client’s compensation by filing for the seizure of ‘state’ assets.

This was terminated by the breakaway state’s supreme court in November, which ruled that the writs could only be executed if the Greek Cypriot applicant signed the waiver signed by Greek Cypriots after they receive their money.

Following the court’s decision, according to Hakki, the IPC did not constitute an effective domestic means and the delays in the payments already approved were a “violation of our rights to property”.

Hakki conceded that some payments have been made but those concerned decisions taken before April 2014.

He also questioned the veracity of the figures posted on the website of the IPC, which says that it has so far paid some £210mln in compensation.

Hakki said this was the amount awarded but there were huge delays in the payments. So far, the IPC has paid £130mln, he said.

“Cases after April 2014 remain unpaid.”

The IPC is financed by Ankara, which seems to have reduced the flow of cash due to disagreements with the Turkish Cypriots.

Hakki said Turkey believes its taxpayers should not foot the entire bill and wants the Turkish Cypriots to contribute.

Turkey wants the current users of the Greek Cypriot properties to pay 30 per cent of the compensation, Hakki said, but Turkish Cypriot authorities disagree with the proposal.

Hakki has given the IPC until the end of the month to pay up. He said the two sides have been in touch but declined to say more.



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