ECHR orders Turkey to pay up in new Cyprus property case
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ordered Turkey to pay 835.000 euros within three months to Greek Cypriot refugee Ioannis Demades for the loss of use of his property in Kyrenia, occupied by Turkish troops since 1974.
In its principle judgment the Court 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.
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, the decision added.
John Demades, who dies in 2006, submitted his application against Turkey in 1990. His heirs later pursued the application.
Greek Cypriot lawyer Achilleas Demetriades, 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.
If Turkey does not pay the compensation in three months, it will be charged with an additional 8% interest per year.
Demades’ home, a two storey house with garden near the sea, is now occupied by a high ranking Turkish officer. The area around the house is a Turkish military zone.
The Greek Cypriot lawyer expressed the view that the Demades case marks the end of the first round of cases.
“The Demades case is the third successful case dealing with compensations from Turkey in matters of property rights. The first 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 the third is the Demades case which determined the cost of occupation in Kyrenia”.
In all, 32 petitions of Greek Cypriot refugees against Turkey have been accepted by the Court and will be examined soon. Eight more applications will follow, which, according to Demetriades, are considered as pilot cases which may determine the future of the so-called compensation committee, set up in the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus and seeking to be considered as an effective domestic remedy to which Greek Cypriots must apply first with regard to claims on their property.
Apart from the above cases, 1,500 additional petitions are pending before the ECHR. The Court decided to freeze them in view of the decisions to be taken regarding the eight pilot cases, Demetriades said.
(Source: Financial Mirror)