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Media Watch 2003

30 May 2003
Source: Cyprus Mail
Author: Sofia Kannas
Comment: The following article appeared in the Cyprus Mail of Nicosia on 30 May 2003
‘Turkey ready to pay up in Loizidou case’

TURKEY will be presenting an offer to compensate Greek Cypriot refugee Titina Loizidou next week, according to reports in Cyprus yesterday.

The Cyprus News Agency said that Turkey would formally announce the payment of compensation to Loizidou - a Kyrenia property owner who won a landmark damages case against Turkey at Europe’s highest court -- at a Council of Europe (COE) meeting scheduled for next Wednesday. There was also speculation that members of the House of Representatives and the ‘Parliament’ in the north had been invited by a senior official at the COE to visit Strasbourg and attend the meeting.

CNA reported yesterday that because of outside pressures for a settlement of the Loizidou case, Turkey was expected to pay the stipulated sum if the Council of Europe agreed to recognise special courts to be set up in the north to deal with the issue of Greek Cypriot property.

In 1998, Loizidou was awarded $640,000 in damages, and $374,000 in costs by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). The court accepted her case that she had been denied her rights to her property by Turkey, the occupying force.

Speaking to the Cyprus Mail yesterday, Loizidou said she had no official confirmation that Turkey was going to pay the sum.

“I haven’t heard anything,” she said. “I saw reports in the papers that Turkey wants to pay up and make sure that no other cases are heard at the courts… (but) this was an old proposal of Turkey’s, which the permanent representatives and ministers of the Council of Europe refused last year.”

She did say her case was likely to be discussed at the COE meeting next week. “my case will be on the agenda this Tuesday and Wednesday,” she said.

Loizidou’s lawyer Achilleas Demetriades said no formal announcement on the subject of the compensation payment had been made.

“I have no official communication on this,” he said. “But I wonder what the purpose of this discussion is. Turkey is cleverly trying to link its obligation to pay the Loizidou judgement with a political initiative -- that is a very smart move.

“And on our side, we should react to it by separating the issues and explaining how execution of the Loizidou judgement, which has been pending for the last five years, is a legal matter which does not end with the payment of the funds, but with the restoration of Mrs Loizidou’s rights -- to allow her peacefully to enjoy her property in Kyrenia.

“What Turkey is doing is to its own advantage. They are playing their game, but what are we doing, that is the question.”

He stressed there was a possibility that Turkey would offer to pay Loizidou in the near future. “The committee of ministers of the COE will be discussing the Loizidou case next Tuesday and Wednesday and I would not be surprised if Turkey officially puts its decision to pay the compensation on the table,” he said.

“The smart thing about the Turkish policy is that if they make a concession, which is an obvious requirement for them, they try to get as much political mileage out of it as they can.”

Demetriades encouraged other Cypriots who had lost property in the north file for compensation. “I think the way forward is for more such applications to be filed. The more there are, the greater the pressure Turkey feels, and the more likely it is that it will solve the problem.

“Now cases are moving forward, I would expect a new Loizidou decision some time before the summer.”

Presidential aide Marios Karoyan yesterday denied that government representatives had been invited to Strasbourg next week. “We haven’t received such an invitation,” he said."