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No response from Ankara to CoE calls to pay damages to Cyprus

The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (CoE)  has expressed regret at the “absence of any response from the Turkish authorities as yet” to the its appeal to pay damages to Cyprus, ordered by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) over missing persons and Turkish-occupied properties.

According to an announcement from the Committee of Ministers, which convened between June 7-9 in Strasbourg to review, among other issues, implementation of the decisions by Turkey, the Secretary General of the CoE, Thorbjorn Jagland, raised the issue of payment with Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, in a letter dated April 28, 2016, without getting a response.

Last March, Jagland was called on by the Committee of Ministers to intervene, during the examination of progress in the cases “Varnava and others v. Turkey” and the “Xenides-Arestis group”.

In its final judgment of March 22, 2006, the ECHR, while examining the “Xenides-Arestis” group of cases against Turkey, found a continuous denial of access to property in the northern part of Cyprus and consequent loss of control thereof, as well as a violation of the applicants` right to respect for their homes in some cases.

The issue of missing persons was addressed in the 2009 “Varnava and others v. Turkey” judgment, where the court identified, inter alia, failure to conduct effective investigations into the fate of nine Greek Cypriots who disappeared during the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus.

In its latest decision, the Committee of Ministers firmly insisted once again on Turkey’s unconditional obligation to pay the just satisfaction awarded by the European Court in these cases, “deeply deplored” the absence of progress and exhorted Turkey to comply with this obligation without further delay. The issue will be considered anew in September.

Moreover, the Committee of Ministers supervised the execution of the “Cyprus v. Turkey” judgment, insisting on Turkey`s unconditional obligation to pay the sums awarded by the court.

The principal judgment in 2001 found 14 violations in the Turkish-occupied north, in relation to the property of displaced Greek Cypriots, the living conditions of the enclaved, the Greek Cypriot missing persons and their relatives and the rights of Turkish Cypriots. In a relevant decision, on May 2014, the court had ordered Turkey to pay a total of 90m euros in damages, plus interest.

The Committee of Ministers decided to resume consideration of the issue of the homes and immovable property of displaced Greek Cypriots at a meeting, scheduled for March 2017. (CNA)

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