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Media Watch 2007

01 June 2007
Source: Cyprus Mail
Author: Jean Christou
Comment: The following article appeared in the Cyprus Mail of Nicosia on 1 June 2007.
Turkey told to pay up in property case
TURKEY must pay 880,000 euros to Greek Cypriot refugee Myra Xenides-Arestis by August 22, following a final decision by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), lawyer Achilleas Demetriades said yesterday.

"TURKEY must pay 880,000 euros to Greek Cypriot refugee Myra Xenides-Arestis by August 22, following a final decision by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), lawyer Achilleas Demetriades said yesterday.

The Turkish Cypriot side has been hailing the latest decision as acceptance of its property commission because the Court refused Xenides-Arestis’ appeal to take the case to the Grand Chamber.
A statement from the north yesterday said the property commission would now be taken into account when it came to future cases involving Greek Cypriots at the ECHR.

But Demetriades said this was not the case.

He said the court had notified the parties on May 29 that on May 23, the decision in the Xenides-Arestis case of December 2006 for which there had been an application for referral to the Grand Chamber by both Turkey and the applicant, had not been accepted.

“It means the judgement [of December 2006] became final,” said Demetriades.

“That means the violation of Mrs Arestis’ property and home rights by Turkey in the sealed off area of Famagusta was made final and that for me is the most important element.”

He said now Turkey now was not only obliged to allow her to return to Famagusta as a matter of human rights, it has also now been specified as a specific legal obligation.

“The right of return is now a legal obligation for Turkey,” Demetriades added.

He also said Turkey’s argument that Famagusta belonged to the Turkish religious foundations Evkaf had been finally dismissed.

“As for the property commission, they did not consider its legality, effectiveness and compatibility with the convention,” Demetriades said.

“This will take place in the Demades vs Turkey or in one of the other 32 case already declared admissible. The question of the property commission has not been decided.”

He said if the Turkish side believed it was a victory for them, “how come they have to pay 800,000 euros and the court has yet to examine the effectiveness of the committee?”

In its December decision, the ECHR said that because the commission was a new body, it would not be fair to force Xenides-Arestis to apply to it. Her claim goes back to 1987, while the property commission has existed only since March last year.

What remains to be seen is whether the ECHR will refer to it future claims by Greek Cypriot refugees."