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ECHR Orders Turkey to Pay Compensations in Demades vs. Turkey Case
2008-04-24 09:47:22

Nicosia, Apr 22 - The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on Tuesday ordered Turkey to pay within three months €835.000 ($1.3 mil) to Greek Cypriot refugee Ioannis Demades for the loss of use of his property in the northern coastal town of Kyrenia, occupied by Turkish troops since the Turkish invasion of 1974.

The Fourth Section of the ECHR ordered Turkey to pay the applicant in the case Demades vs. Turkey within three months from now the following comprehensive sums: €785.000 ($1.2 mil) in respect of pecuniary damage, €45.000 ($70,000) in respect of non-pecuniary damage and €5.000 ($7,850) for costs and expenses.

The Court recalled that in its principle judgment it found Turkey guilty of continuous violations of the European Convention of Human Rights by reason of complete denial of the rights of the applicant with respect to his home and the peaceful enjoyment of his property in Kyrenia.

It added that its finding of a violation of the applicant’s rights with respect to his home and the peaceful enjoyment of his property was based on the fact that as a consequence of being continuously denied access to his land since 1974 the applicant had effectively lost all access and control as well as all possibilities to use and enjoy his property.

''He is therefore entitled to a measure of compensation in respect of losses directly related to this violation of his rights as from the date of deposit of Turkey’s declaration recognizing the right of individual petition, namely January 1987 until the present time'', the decision says.

The Court stresses that the applicant can not be deemed to have lost title to his property.

Displaced Greek Cypriots like the applicant cannot be deemed to have lost title to their property and compensation to be awarded by this Court in such cases is confined to losses emanating from the denial of access and loss of control, use and enjoyment of his property, the decision adds.

John Demades, who passed away in 2006, submitted his application against Turkey in 1990. His heirs pursued later on the application.

The decision was held by six votes to one. The Turkish Cypriot judge, representing Turkey, voted against the decision.

Greek Cypriot lawyer Achilleas Demetriades, described the Court’s decision as very important, saying that the decision reaffirms that the Greek Cypriots are the sole owners of their properties in the Turkish occupied areas.

He added that the Court’s decision is important since it gives an estimation of the cost of occupation of the Greek Cypriot properties in Kyrenia.

Mr. Demetriades noted that in case Turkey does not pay the compensation in three months, it will be charged with an additional 8% interest per year.

Mr. Demades’ home, a two storage house with a garden near the sea, is now occupied by a Turkish high ranking army officer. The whole area around the house is a Turkish military zone.

The Greek Cypriot lawyer expressed the view that the Demades case signalizes the end of the first round of cases and explained:

“By this I mean that the Demades case is the third successful case dealing with compensations from Turkey in matters of property rights. The first case was the Loizidou Case when the right of property was secured, the second was the Xenidi - Aresti Case when the cost of occupation in the fenced off city of Famagusta was determined and the third is the Demades Case which determined the cost of occupation in Kyrenia”.

Thirty-two petitions of Greek Cypriot refugees against Turkey have been accepted by the Court and will be examined soon.

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