Lobby for Cyprus is a non-party-political human rights organisation campaigning for a reunited Cyprus.
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25 April 2008
Turkey loses another Cyprus property case in European Court of Human Rights
Once again, Turkey has been found guilty by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) for denying a Greek Cypriot access to his property in the occupied north of Cyprus.

Once again, Turkey has been found guilty by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) for denying a Greek Cypriot access to his property in the occupied north of Cyprus.

On April 22, the Court ordered Turkey to pay Greek Cypriot refugee Ioannis Demades €835,000 ($1.3 million) within three months. If Turkey delays, as it has in similar cases, interest at 8 per cent will be added to the sum.

“The decision of the Court is consistent with its previous decisions,” said Theo Theodorou, spokesman for Lobby for Cyprus, “and the monetary penalty is also consistent. In effect,” he added, “the Court is giving Turkey a strong message that it should leave the island’s north which it has been occupying since the illegal invasion in 1974.”

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.

The Court’s award is made up of €785.000 ($1.2-million) in respect of pecuniary damage, €45.000 ($70,000) in respect of non-pecuniary damage, and €5.000 ($7,850) for costs and expenses.

It should be noted, Theodorou stated, that “The Court stressed that the applicant cannot be deemed to have lost title to his property.”

An accompanying statement by the Court said: “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.”

Greek Cypriot lawyer Achilleas Demetriades, who brought the case to the Court on behalf of Demades, 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.

Theodorou commented, “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, now, this case which determines the cost of occupation in Kyrenia.”

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

“This is another warning to Britons who are thinking of buying property in the occupied north that they risk losing their investment since the Greek Cypriot refugees still own the title deeds, despite what spokesmen for the illegal regime say in their advertisements.”

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

Lobby for Cyprus is a non-party-political organisation working to end the division of the island by the removal of the 43,000 man Turkish army, the repatriation of the 160,000 Anatolian colonists who were imported into the north in order to change the demographics, contrary to all international laws, and the return of all refugees to their homes.