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USCongressmen seek positive steps from Turkey
2003-11-26 17:41:14

Nicosia, Nov 26 (CNA) -- Two US Congressmen have called on Turkey to demonstrate its sincere desire to respect the rule of law and comply with a European Court of Human Rights decision as an indication of its will to do just that.

Congressmen Frank Pallone and Michael Bilirakis also warn Ankara that failure to act might jeopardise US-Turkey relations.

The call came in a letter to Turkish Premier Tayyip Erdogan with regard to the Court judgments in the case of Titina Loizidou, which Ankara has refused to execute for seven years.

''As Turkey looks to the US to champion its candidacy for eventual EU membership, we seek indications that Turkey is committed to the rule of law and principles of human rights,'' Congressmen Pallone and Bilirakis said in their letter, dated 25 November.

They said they look to Ankara for signs of a new willingness to work for a negotiated settlement to end the division of Cyprus, to withdraw the Turkish occupation troops, and to allow all Cypriots to enjoy in peace the benefits of EU membership.

''Actions to the contrary will only serve to weaken American support for Turkey's EU bid and prevent US-Turkish relations from reaching their full potential,'' the letter said.

The Congressmen said that compliance with the Court decisions would be a ''very positive step Turkey could take to demonstrate its goodwill and sincere desire to show its respect for the rule of law, which all nations must honor,'' it added.

The Court judgments found Turkey guilty of human rights violations in Cyprus' occupied areas and ordered Ankara to allow access to Loizidou to her occupied property and pay her compensation amounting to one million US dollars.

Turkey has been dragging its feet in the execution of the rulings and is seeking to implement part of the Court decision relating to payment of damages but to defer implementation of the part relating to unhindered access to the property in question.

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