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Cyprus prepares for legal battle with Turkey
2003-08-12 09:48:16

Nicosia, Aug 12 (CNA) -- A team of legal experts is expected to submit to the Cyprus government by mid September its preliminary points with regard to a legal battle against Turkey, before the European Court of Human Rights, relating to violation of property rights.

Foreign Minister Giorgos Iakovou told CNA today that the opinion of the three foreign legal professors on Turkish claims that there are "domestic remedies" for Greek Cypriots to exhaust before applying to the Court will be ready by the end of September.

The minister said Nicosia and Athens are coordinating their moves to combat Ankara's manoeuvres, which essentially aim at curbing the flurry of applications by Greek Cypriots claiming access, use and compensation of their property under Turkish occupation since 1974.|

''There is a specific plan of action on this score but we are not going to announce any decisions taken in relation to Turkey's attempts to convince the European Court that there are domestic remedies that should be exhausted before people apply to the Court in Strasbourg,'' Iakovou said.

Replying to questions, he said the government does not have any information to the effect that 18 Greek Cypriots have applied to a so-called commission for compensation in occupied Cyprus.

''The government has the right to intervene in this case before the Court, which concerns an individual application against Turkey, to put forward its arguments,'' the minister explained.

The Court has invited Turkey to submit written observations by 30 September on whether domestic remedies have been exhausted, in an individual case. The Greek Cypriot lawyer handling the case, the Court said in a letter in early July, will be notified of Turkey's observations in order that he may submit his written observations.

Replying to questions, the minister said the government is dealing with this matter in a most serious manner because there is a risk that the Court may be misled.

''We have to fight this battle and stress that the 'courts' and the 'commission' in occupied Cyprus are illegal. No citizen of any country should be expected to apply to a regime and its institutions which the UN Security Council has branded legally invalid,'' the minister stressed.

Turkey's recent moves come as it is under increasing pressure from Strasbourg to pay compensation to a Greek Cypriot, Titina Loizidou, for loss of use of her property in occupied Cyprus and allow her access and peaceful enjoyment of her property.

Scores of Greek Cypriots have filed applications against Turkey claiming compensation for their properties, usurped by the Turkish Cypriot regime Turkey maintains in occupied Cyprus.

CNA MM/GP/2003
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

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