Cypriot Spokesman says government not behind lawsuits
Nicosia, May 5 (CNA) - Cypriot Government Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides clarified today that the government was not behind any lawsuits against foreigners illegally exploiting Greek Cypriot property in the Turkish occupied areas of the island, noting that the government sought the protection of the right to property and was promoting the process for a Cyprus settlement, under conditions of proper preparation for the new process and guarantees for its successful outcome.
Chrysostomides said there had been a decrease in illegal sales of Greek Cypriot property in the occupied areas, which seemed to have annoyed Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, who ''is making statements distorting international law.''
Commenting on Talat's allegations that President Tassos Papadopoulos had brushed aside international law and had started to use the advantages of Cyprus' accession to the EU in order to eliminate the Turkish Cypriots' political rights, Chrysostomides said, ''I do not know exactly what Mr. Talat means. If he means that the claiming of the legitimate right to property is a violation of international law, then I think he is deluded and is doing it on purpose.''
The Spokesman added that ''certainly Mr. Talat himself does not believe what he is saying,'' noting that it was ''a characteristic of totalitarian regimes to embark on this kind of propaganda'' and that Talat's efforts, with the backing of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, did not appear to have any influence on the international community.
Chrysostomides said the right to ownership was a human right and gave examples of treaties protecting this right and European Court of Human Rights decisions stating that occupation did not affect this right.
''Even in the case of military occupation, which is exactly what is happening in the occupied areas of Cyprus, the armed conflict law protects, unreservedly, the right to ownership,'' Chrysostomides pointed out.
Asked if the government would take action to address the situation, Chrysostomides said the government was always acting and reiterating its demand for the respect of human rights, especially the right to property.
''The government is observing a policy of demanding the protection of the right to ownership and at the same time is pursuing the process for a final settlement of the Cyprus problem and the reunification of our country, under conditions of proper preparation of the new process and safeguarding the prospects of a successful outcome of this new process,'' he added.
Commenting on remarks that the government was behind lawsuits against foreigners illegally exploiting Greek Cypriot property in the Turkish occupied areas of the island, the Spokesman said ''this is clearly wrong'' and noted that ''the right of the owners is clearly private and the government does not intervene in the exercise or pursuit of protection of these individual rights.''
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.