Lobby for Cyprus is a non-party-political human rights organisation campaigning for a reunited Cyprus.
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22 March 2007
US Congress asked to act to protect Cypriot property rights
London--"It is to be hoped that the British Parliament will have the same degree of courage and sense of responsibility as the American Congress and will act to protect the interests of its Cypriot subjects," said Nick Kounoupias, spokesman for Lobby for Cyprus, in referring to a recent piece of legislation raised in the Congress on behalf of Cypriots who have lost their properties in the illegally occupied north of Cyprus.

London--"It is to be hoped that the British Parliament will have the same degree of courage and sense of responsibility as the US Congress and will act to protect the interests of its Cypriot subjects," said Nick Kounoupias, spokesman for Lobby for Cyprus, in referring to a recent piece of legislation raised in the Congress on behalf of Cypriots who have lost their properties in the illegally occupied north of Cyprus.

The American bill will enable US citizens who own property in the Turkish occupied territory of the Republic of Cyprus to seek financial remedies with either the current inhabitants of their land or the Turkish government.

The bill ''authorizes the President to initiate a claims program under which the claims of US nationals who Turkey has excluded from their property in occupied Cyprus can be judged by the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission (FCSC) and compensated through government-to-government negotiations between the United States and Turkey.''

It also ''empowers the US District Courts to hear causes of action asserted by US nationals who have been excluded from their property in occupied Cyprus against private persons or entities that occupy or use the property of US nationals in occupied Cyprus.''

Furthermore, it ''empowers the United States District Courts to hear causes of action asserted by US nationals who have been excluded from their property in occupied Cyprus against Turkey without having to assert those causes of action under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976 as amended.''

"Since 1974, when Turkey invaded Cyprus and occupied almost forty per cent of the island, more than 200,000 Cypriots were dispossessed of their homes, their lands, and their properties," Kounopious said, "and these have been occupied by more than 160,000 Anatolian peasants who have been imported to change the demographic balance of the island."

He pointed out that despite Resolutions of the United Nations, the European Union, and decisions of the European Court of Human Rights, "Turkey has refused to leave the north, has refused to remove its 40,000-man army and has refused to repatriate the Anatolian colonists, and has prevented the Greek-Cypriot rightful owners of the properties from returning to them," Kounoupius said.

"When one considers how closely allied are America and Turkey, and how strongly America supports Turkey in international matters," Kounoupius said, "it is evidence of the injustice that is felt in America that such a piece of legislation can be raised in both houses of the Congress, and," he added, "without fear of Turkish retaliation and threats."

Congressman Frank Pallone, who introduced the measure in the House of Representatives, said the bipartisan "American Owned Property in Occupied Cyprus Claims Act" serves as an essential response to ongoing violations of international law, and provides US nationals with long-overdue rights to seek restitution.

"It is inconceivable that Turkey, a US ally, who has been, and continues to be, the beneficiary of significant aid and support from this nation, excludes US citizens from property to which they hold lawful titles under the laws of the Republic of Cyprus," he added in his supporting statement.

"If we substitute 'UK' for 'US' the same sentiment would apply in this country," Kounoupius commented.

Lobby for Cyprus is a non-party-political organisation dedicated to the reunification of Cyprus through the removal of the Turkish Army, the repatriation of the Anatolian colonists, and the return of all refugees to their original homes.