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European Court of Human Rights landmark cases filed against Turkey by Cyprus/Cypriot citizens

» Case of Loizidou vs Turkey (1998)

Court’s finding in principal judgment that denial of access to property in northern Cyprus was imputable to Turkey is res judicata – applicant entitled to compensation.
Conclusion: respondent State’s claim dimissed (fifteen votes to two).

Award made in respect of anguish, helplessness and frustration suffered by applicant.
Conclusion: respondent State to pay applicant specified sum (fifteen votes to two) - Turkey paid applicant the specified sum.

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» Case of Cyprus vs Turkey (2001)

In a Grand Chamber judgment delivered at Strasbourg on 10 May 2001 in the case of Cyprus v. Turkey, the European Court of Human Rights held, by sixteen votes to one, that the matters complained of by Cyprus in its application entailed Turkey’s responsibility under the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Court held that there had been the following 14 violations of the Convention (see Decision of the Court for details):
- Greek-Cypriot missing persons and their relatives
- Home and property of displaced persons
- Living conditions of Greek Cypriots in Karpas region of northern Cyprus
- Rights of Turkish Cypriots living in northern Cyprus

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» Case of Xenides-Arestis v. Turkey (2006)

The European Court of Human Rights has notified in writing a Chamber judgment dealing with the question of just satisfaction in the case of Xenides-Arestis v. Turkey.

The case concerns a Cypriot national who has been prevented from living in her home and having access to, using and enjoying her property since August 1974 following the conduct of military operations in northern Cyprus by Turkey in July and August 1974.

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» Case of Varnava and Others v. Turkey (2008)

The European Court of Human Rights has found Turkey guilty of violating the human rights of Greek Cypriots missing since the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus.

In its judgment the Court stated that Turkey is guilty of the continuing violation of Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights on account of failure of the authorities of the respondent state (Turkey) to conduct an effective investigation into the whereabouts and fate of the nine first applicants who disappeared in life threatening circumstances. There was also a violation of Article 3 which prohibits inhuman treatment and Article 5, the right to liberty and security.

The applicants are 18 Cypriot nationals, nine of whom have been considered missing since they were taken into captivity by the Turkish army during military action in Cyprus in 1974 and have not been accounted for since. The other nine applicants are the parents or wives of the missing applicants.

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» Cases of Isaak v. Turkey (2008) and Solomou v. Turkey (2008)

On June 24th 2008 the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) found Turkey guilty of human rights violations in the cases that concern the killings of Anastasios Isaak and Solomos Solomou in August 1996. In its Judgment, in the cases of “Isaak v. Turkey” and “Solomou v. Turkey”, the ECHR concluded that Turkey was guilty of human rights violations in the cases that concern the killings of these two Greek Cypriots in August 1996.

The two applications to the Court were filed by the families of Anastasios Isaak and Solomos Solomou, who were murdered by counter-demonstrators and individuals under the direct control of the Turkish occupation forces during demonstrations in 1996. Anastasios Isaak was killed on 11 August 1996 in the buffer zone in the area of Dherynia, during an anti-occupation demonstration organized by the Cyprus Motorcycle Federation (CMF) to protest against the continued Turkish occupation of the northern part of Cyprus. Anastasios Isaak was kicked and beaten to death by a group of 15-20 people who surrounded him and threw him to the ground. He was then repeatedly kicked and beaten with metal and wooden batons. A medical report concluded that the cause of Isaak’s death had been “multiple head trauma”. Solomos Solomou was killed on 14 August 1996. Having attended Anastasios Isaak’s funeral, he entered the buffer zone with other demonstrators near the spot of the killing and, in protest, climbed up a flagpole flying the Turkish flag. He was unarmed. He was shot and killed while trying to remove the Turkish flag from its mast.

In both cases, the ECHR held unanimously that there had been a violation of Article 2 (right to life) of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms in respect of the killing of Anastasios Isaak and Solomos Solomou and a violation of Article 2 in respect of the failure to conduct an effective investigation into the circumstances in which Anastasios Isaak and Solomos Solomou died. In particular, the Court concluded that “…Anastasios Isaak and Solomos Solomou had been killed by agents of the Turkish State and that the use of force had not been justified, in violation of Article 2…”. Moreover, the Court also considered, “…that the killings of Isaak and Solomou had not been necessary to defend ‘any person from unlawful violence’…”, and that both had been unarmed and had not been attacking anyone. Furthermore, in both cases the Court noted that “…the Turkish Government had failed to produce any evidence showing that an investigation had been carried out into the circumstances of Anastasios Isaak and Solomos Solomou’s deaths…”.

The press release dated June 24, 2008, issued by the ECHR on the above mentioned Judgment is accessible on the Internet site of the Council of Europe or in pdf form by clicking here.

Click here to read the Court's full judgment of Isaak v. Turkey (2008)

Click here to read the Court's full judgment of Solomou v. Turkey (2008)