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UN should take over Varosha, Cypriot property applicants say in letter to CoE

Turkey’s plan to reopen Varosha is a further violation of their property rights, Greek Cypriot applicants say in a letter to the Council of Europe, and state that they have no objection to the United Nations taking over the fenced-off area of Famagusta.

Lawyer Achilleas Demetriades, representing Greek Cypriot applicants in the “Xenides-Arestis” group of cases versus Turkey on Tuesday sent on Tuesday a letter to the Secretariat of the Committee of Ministers, ahead of its meeting, between September 29 and October 1 in Strasbourg.

In the letter, Demetriades notes Turkey’s “continuous disregard for the Committee’s Decisions and the three interim Resolutions in 2008, 2010 and 2014” and says that Ankara’s “a la carte approach to human rights continues and the applicants are left without a remedy despite the Committee’s efforts.”

It is unacceptable, to say at least, for the Committee to allow Turkey to get away with non-payment of the final Judgments, the lawyer noted.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) awarded compensation for loss of use of the said properties belonging to Cypriots applicants, for various dates between 1990 and 2012. Despite repeated calls by the Committee of Ministers, which oversees the execution of ECHR judgments, Turkey has paid no compensation to date.

In his letter, the lawyer also points to Ankara’s failure to recognise the applicants’ ownership of their properties as established by the Court.

He also says that a number of applicants have properties in the fenced-off area, which remains inaccessible to them since 1974 because of the presence of Turkish military forces. Demetriades also pointed to reports in the local press, saying that Turkey was planning to allow the applicants’ properties to be used by third parties, to attract tourism and for economic benefit.

“This is clearly a further violation of the applicant’ property rights and is designed to further hinder the restitution of possession to the Applicants” he notes, adding that this is also in breach of relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

“The applicants clearly have no objection to the United Nations taking over Varosha” the lawyer concludes in his letter.

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