A Greek Cypriot woman who applied to the European Court of Human Rights in 1989 to regain access to property she owns in Kyrenia has sent a letter to the representatives on the Council of Europe’s Ministerial Committee requesting they keep her property case open.
Titina Loizidou, who was awarded financial compensation by Turkey for the loss of use of her property, continues with her quest to gain the restitution of her property, her lawyer Achilleas Demetriades said.
The lawyer also says that statements made by the President of the Immovable Property Commission (IPC) Ayfer Said Erkmen, were untrue.
The President of the TRNC Immovable Property Commission (IPC) Ayfer Said Erkmen released a statement regarding the Loizidou case. The IPC made a number of attempts to contact Titina Loizidou to resolve the case, but Erkmen has stated that these calls were left unanswered.
Erkmen said in his statement that the IPC had sent a letter to Loizidou’s lawyer inviting her to apply to the IPC under law number 67/2005 on 16 January 2007. Although the commission did not receive a response, it investigated in good faith, Loizidou’s ten immovable properties in upper Kyrenia.
Regarding the result of the investigation, Erkmen stated the following:
“Titina Loizidou’s lawyer was invited to apply to the Immoveable Property Commission with letters dated November 20, 2007 and February 27, 2008. She was informed that in the case of the application, restitution of the properties would not be possible under article 8 (1) and 8 (2) of legislation 67/2005. Instead, compensation or exchange would be possible, and in the case of her request the loss of use would be compensated.”
Loizidou v. Turkey is a landmark legal case regarding the rights of refugees wishing to return to their former homes and properties. The European Court of Human Rights ruled that Titina Loizidou, and consequently all other refugees, have the right to return to their former properties. The ECHR ruled that Turkey had violated Loizidou’s human rights under Article I of Protocol I of the European Convention on Human Rights, that she should be allowed to return to her home and that Turkey should pay damages to her. Turkey initially ignored this ruling.
On 22 July 1989 a Greek Cypriot national Loizidou filed an application against Turkey to the European Court of Human Rights, represented by Greek-Cypriot lawyer Achilleas Demetriades. Loizidou had been forced out of her home during Turkey’s “invasion” of Cyprus in 1974 along with around 200,000 other Greek-Cypriots. During more than 20 years, she made a number of attempts to return to her home in Kyrenia but was denied entry into North Cyprus by the Turkish army.
Her application resulted in three judgements by the European Court of Human Rights (Strasbourg) which held Turkey responsible for human rights violations in the northern part of Cyprus, which is under overall control of the Turkish armed forces.
The U.S. Department of State commented on this case as follows:
In 1996 the European Court of Human Rights ruled 11 to 6 that Turkey committed a continuing violation of the rights of a Greek Cypriot woman by preventing her from going to her property located in north Cyprus. The ruling reaffirmed the validity of property deeds issued prior to 1974. The Court also found in this case that “it was obvious from the large number of troops engaged in active duties in northern Cyprus that the Turkish army exercised effective overall control there. In the circumstances of the case, this entailed Turkey’s responsibility for the policies and actions of the TRNC’. In July the Court ordered Turkey to pay the woman approximately $915,000 in damages and costs by October 28. Initially Turkey declined to pay the damages awarded. The Turkish Government stated that it cannot implement the Court’s decision, which it contends is a political decision, and argued that the land in question is not Turkish but is part of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. The Council of Europe (COE) during 1999 continued to call on the Turkish Government to comply with the Court’s decision. In October the COE Committee of Ministers’ Deputies voted to deplore Turkey’s lack of compliance. A number of similar cases have been filed with the ECHR.
The Court also stated expressly that the damages awarded were not compensation for the property as such, but only for the denial of the ownership and use of the property, and that Loizidou retains full legal ownership of her property.
In 2003 Turkey paid Loizidou the compensation amounts (of over $1 million) ruled by the European Court of Human Rights.
Cyprus Mail, TRNC Public Information Office, Wikipedia