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Government warns G/C not to be used by Turkey in ECHR
2006-06-19 15:05:22

Nicosia, Jun 19 (CNA) -- Deputy Minister to the President and Government Spokesman Christodoulos Pasiardis warns Greek Cypriot owners of property in the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus, to be very careful and not to be used by Turkey in its effort to show the European Court of Human Rights that it is giving displaced persons real remedies or returning their usurped property to them.

In a written statement, Pashiardis refers to the recent developments concerning the so called ''Immovable Property Commission'' in the occupied areas saying that they are designed to help Turkey in the Xenides - Arestis case now before the European Court of Human Rights.

?The developments are attempts to get some Greek Cypriots to accept compensation for their property in the occupied area. The aim is to allow Turkey to tell the European Court of Human Rights at the Arestis hearing that Turkey has created a satisfactory remedy for all displaced Greek Cypriots?, Pashiardes notes.

He adds that what is really happening is that Turkey is looking for a few people to ''take the money and run'' and it is not offering remedies the Court has ordered i.e. restitution of property rights to all owners.

Instead, he says, Turkey is offering limited compensation for use and for expropriation to most claimants, while giving partial return of property to a few people.

The cost of the remedies Turkey is proposing would, if they were applied to all displaced property owners, and using Turkey's own figures, be many billions of pounds.

?We are unaware whether the Turkish Ministry of Finance has made provision for such a massive amount, which will have to be approved by the Turkish Grand National Assembly. If this amount is not approved, there will be no funding for the ''Commission's'' proposed compensation, except in a few cases used as bait?, he says.

?Property owners must be careful that they are not used by Turkey to try to show the European Court of Human Rights, by way of a few partial examples, that Turkey is genuinely giving displaced persons real remedies, or is, as she is required to do, returning their usurped property to them?.

Pashiardes points out that the Republic of Cyprus is actively putting all issues before the Court, which will be deciding them in a few months time and in the meanwhile, ?everyone must be alert to attempts to play legal games to bluff the Court that justice is being done and that human rights are being restored as the Court has ordered?.

He furthermore notes that under the law of the Republic of Cyprus, purported transfers of property by any person require registration by the Land Registry of the Republic and that failure to register means that any transfer is invalid.

?It should also be borne in mind that the Guardianship Law means that there cannot be exchanges with Turkish Cypriot - owned land because rights of individual Turkish Cypriots must be protected?, he concludes.

The European Court of Human Rights had found on 22 December 2005 Turkey guilty of violating the human rights of Xenides-Aresti, a Greek Cypriot refugee in terms of her property in Turkish occupied Cyprus and ordered Ankara to put in place, within three months, a mechanism to offer reparations.

The Court ruled in April that a property commission, set up in the Turkish-controlled north of the island, did not constitute effective domestic remedy for property claims by Greek Cypriots, whose property lies in the occupied north.

Myra Xenides-Aresti had claimed that Turkey violated her right to enjoy peacefully her property in Turkish occupied Famagusta.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied the island?s northern third.

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