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Property rights of enclaved to be discussed in Strasbourg

File photo: Unficyp soldiers delivering food to Greek Cypriot villagers in Rizokarpaso

Violations of the property rights of enclaved Greek Cypriots living in the occupied Karpas peninsula are not limited to the few hundred people that remain there, says Nicosia, a number that has dropped from 20,000 immediately after the Turkish invasion.

Property rights of enclaved Greek Cypriots are set to be discussed at the Council of Europe during the next session of the Committee of Ministers, between December Tuesday and Thursday, in Strasbourg. It has been the subject of numerous sessions, with the Committee deciding to defer consideration to future meetings, most recently in March 2018.

According to a government memorandum, Cyprus understands the Committee’s decisions for these deferrals are explained in part by the need to consider the impact of the May 2014 court judgment, which ordered Turkey to pay €60 million in damages to enclaved Greek Cypriots of the Karpas peninsula.

The effect of these deferrals, the memorandum goes on, is that the Committee lacks up to date evidence in relation to the legal status of the measures taken by Turkey. Moreover, the government says that Turkey has not provided answers to various questions posed, regarding the treatment of enclaved persons.

The violations identified by the Court in the “Cyprus v. Turkey” case – and which are distinct from those that were intended to be compensated with the 2014 judgment – are by no means limited to the damage suffered by the few hundred remaining enclaved persons.

Damage, the memo added, is also liable to be suffered by those residents who have left the Karpas peninsula since 1974 and who own property there, as well as by their heirs.

The Turkish side maintains that following a 2008 decision, the enclaved are able to maintain their property rights in the event of their definite departure from the occupied areas, on the condition that they maintain minimum contacts, either through a bank account or by being members of a local association. Moreover, it maintains that the enclaved may transfer property to a person of their choice, on the condition that legal proceedings start within a year from their departure from the north.

The Republic also posed a number of questions, asking how many people have benefited from the measures the Turkish side maintains are in place and whether they comprise an effective remedy for the great majority of Greek Cypriots who left the north before 2008.

Nicosia also asks how many title deeds have been issued in the name of Greek Cypriot heirs by year and what happens with the heirs that applied before the 2008 decision.

Nicosia requests the Committee of Ministers to underline Turkey’s obligation to pay damages awarded in 2014 and to express dismay at the continued failure of Turkey to comply with that obligation.

Nicosia also wants the body to ask Turkey to provide answers to the questions posed by March 1, 2019 and to resume consideration of the issue in September 2019.

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