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Turkey has never said ‘it would not pay’ damages ordered ECHR

Thorbjørn Jagland, the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe in Nicosia on Friday

Turkey has never said it would not pay compensation which the European Court of Human Rights has ordered Ankara to pay in connection with applications filed by Greek Cypriots, Thorbjørn Jagland, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe said on Friday, acknowledging at the same time that it was taking a lot of time for Ankara to meet its obligations.

In an interview with CNA during his official visit to Nicosia, Jagland also said that although not directly involved in settlement talks, the Council of Europe (CoE) may indirectly contribute towards improving contacts between the two communities in Cyprus.

He referred in particular to the European Convention on Human Rights, which according to the Secretary-General, may act as a “Confidence Building Measure”, when taking stock of its “unifying effect” in Europe.

The CoE Secretary-General commended both leaders, President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, on their effort to reach a settlement.

While refraining from taking sides on the contested issue of guarantees, Jagland noted that both parties aimed at safeguarding human rights. When asked if human rights provided a sufficient guarantee, he said that “this is up to the parties to decide”.

“I would like to commend the two leaders, we all hope that they will be successful,” he said.

Jagland met on Friday morning with Anastasiades and had a series of meetings with Cypriots officials, aiming at assessing the state of preparations for the forthcoming Cyprus chairmanship of the committee of ministers, due in November.
On the issue of Turkey, which has not paid damages relating to certain cases concerning missing persons and property claims, awarded by the ECHR, he said: “I have raised the issue also in writing. When I met with them we haven’t had a concrete reply on it.”

He added that it has taken Ankara a lot of time to meet its obligations, however he pointed to the examples of other countries, that also delayed payments. The crucial point, according to Jagland, was that so far, no member state has ever said that it was not going to implement a judgment.

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