|Cyprus - Turkey - Inter-state application
Nicosia, Sep 8 1999 (CNA) -- A report by the European Commission of Human Rights has said that Turkey is responsible for gross violations of the human rights of missing persons and their relatives, of displaced persons and of enclaved Greek Cypriots living in the Turkish occupied part of Cyprus.
The report was issued at the end of Commission hearings during the fourth inter-state case of the Republic of Cyprus against Turkey and has been described by legal circles as the most important legal success of Cyprus in international fora.
It affirms that the government of Cyprus is the only recognised government on the island and reiterates that Turkey's responsibility extends to all the complaints filed by the Republic.
The case has been referred by the Cyprus government to the European Court of Human Rights where the two parties (Cyprus and Turkey) will present their arguments before the Court issues its judgement, which will be binding.
European Report finds Turkey guilty of gross violations of human rights in Cyprus
A report by the European Commission of Human Rights of the Council of Europe, made public today, finds Turkey guilty of gross violations of human rights in Cyprus.
The Report, which deals with the fourth application introduced by the Cyprus Government against Turkey, was adopted on 4 June 1999 and relates to the consequences of the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus and Turkey's continuing violation of Articles of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Speaking at a press conference yesterday, the Attorney-General of the Republic, Mr Alecos Markides, said the Report was of historic importance. Mr Markides said Cyprus' application concentrated on human rights issues including the fate of the missing persons, the property rights of displaced persons and the living conditions of the enclaved Greek Cypriots.
The Commission of Human Rights unanimously adopted and reaffirmed three earlier applications by Cyprus against Turkey and the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights on the case of Titina Loizidou, Mr Markides said. In the Loizidou case the Court had held that the denial to the applicant of access to her home in the occupied northern part of Cyprus and the loss of control of her property was imputable to Turkey.
By Jean Christou
Cyprus Mail: Thursday, September 9 1999
A REPORT by the European Commission for Human Rights, made public yesterday, slams Turkey for gross violation of human rights in Cyprus.
The contents of the report were made public at a press conference given by Attorney-general Alecos Markides, who hailed it as "the most important success the Republic of Cyprus has had in international legal fora".
"The Commission report is of a truly historic significance as it reaffirms previous reports in the first three inter-state cases against Turkey and the Court decision on the case of Titina Loizidou," Markides said.
Loizidou won a case before the European Court of Human Rights which found Turkey guilty of the continuous violation of her right to enjoy her property in Kyrenia and ruled that she remained the legal owner.
The report published yesterday was issued at the end of Commission hearings during the fourth inter-state case of Cyprus against Turkey.
It affirms that the government of Cyprus is the only recognised authority on the island and reiterates that Turkey's responsibility extends to all the complaints filed by the government.
The case has been referred by the government to the European Court of Human Rights, where the two parties, Cyprus and Turkey, will present heir arguments before the Court issues a judgement.
Markides said the case rested on five issues, the missing persons, the rights of property of displaced Greek Cypriots and their rights to hold free elections, the living conditions of the enclaved, and the rights of Turkish Cypriots violated by Turkey.
On the latter, the Commission report said the application by the government failed because the Commission considered all local avenues had not been exhausted.
It said the breakaway regime was a local administration subject to Turkey and that Turkish Cypriots should apply to Turkey before approaching the European judicial system.
"We do not consider anything carried out in the occupied areas as being in accordance with international law," Markides said.
On the issue of missing persons, Markides said the report found massive violations of human rights regarding the missing and their relatives by the failure of the Turkish side to cooperate with the investigation into their fate.
On the issue of property, similar violations were found, while regarding the enclaved, the report said their living conditions constituted a serious form of intervention in the right to respect for private and family life.
"The treatment of enclaved persons is tantamount to adverse discrimination on the basis of ethnic origin, race and religion," Markides quoted the report as saying.
Nicosia, May 10 2001 (CNA) -- The European Court of Human Rights today found Turkey guilty of human rights violations in Cyprus, according to press reports from Strasbourg.
The case was brought before the Court by the Cyprus government, which argued that the 27-year-old Turkish occupation of the northern part of the island violated most of the rights enshrined in the European Human Rights Convention.
Cyprus - Attorney General - Turkey - European Court
Nicosia, May 10 2001 (CNA) -- Attorney General Alecos Markides has described today's European Court of Human Rights decision finding Turkey guilty of violations of human rights in Cyprus as a "triumph" and said "it constitutes Cyprus' biggest legal battle against Turkey since 1974", when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37 percent of the island's territory.
Speaking to CNA from Strasbourg, where he went for the public hearing of the decision, Markides said "it is binding for all Council of Europe member states and is the biggest and most serious case ever to have been tried by a European court, since the establishment of the Council of Europe (CoE) in 1950".
The case against Turkey was brought by the Cyprus government, which argued that the 27-year-old Turkish occupation of Cyprus' northern third violated almost every article in the European Human Rights Convention.
Referring to the Court's decision, Markides said Turkey was found guilty, among other charges, for violation of the rights of Greek Cypriot refugees to their property and the right to return to their homes in the occupied north.
He said the Court also ruled that Turkey has violated the right to life and the right for personal freedom of the persons missing since the Turkish invasion and for persistently denying an adequate investigation into their fate.
The Attorney General said Ankara was found guilty of violating the rights of the relatives of missing persons because its refusal to inform them of their fate violates article 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights.
He added that Turkey was also found guilty of violating the rights of some 500 Greek Cypriots enclaved in the Turkish occupied north.
Regarding the Turkish Cypriots living in the occupied north, Markides said the Court ruled that they have the possibility to seek remedies through the illegal "courts" as they are considered as remedies set up by Turkey.
Euro Court Condemns Turkey for Cyprus Rights Abuse
Thursday May 10 2001
By Gilbert Reilhac
STRASBOURG, France (Reuters) - The European Court of Human Rights delivered a stinging rebuke to Turkey Thursday, finding it guilty of widespread human rights abuses arising from its 1974 invasion of northern Cyprus.
The case was brought by the Cyprus government, which argued that the 27-year-old Turkish occupation of the north of the Mediterranean island had trampled on almost every article in the European Human Rights Convention.
The court said in a judgement passed by 16 votes to one that Ankara had violated 14 articles of the convention, including the right to life, the right to liberty and security, the right to freedom of thought and the right to freedom of expression.
Turkey, which is hoping to become a member of the European Union (news - web sites), refused to attend the hearing when it opened last year in this eastern French city, arguing that the Turkish Cypriot state was an independent entity.
However, only Ankara has recognized it as such and the European court said Turkey should be held accountable for the actions of the northern Cypriot administration, adding that it ''survived by virtue of Turkish military and other support.''
The Turks invaded Cyprus after a brief, failed Greek Cypriot coup engineered by the military then ruling Greece. Ankara has always denied accusations of rights violations.
But the Strasbourg court upheld charges that some 170,000 Greek Cypriot refugees living in the south of the island and banned from returning to their homes in the north were deprived of rights to property, compensation and a family life.
It also ruled that by failing to investigate the fate of some 1,500 people who went missing during the Turkish invasion, Ankara had violated their ``right to life.''
CYPRUS RELIEVED AFTER LONG WAIT
Cyprus lodged its complaint against Turkey at Strasbourg in 1994, but the Court only agreed to take it up last year after its screening body, the Human Rights Commission, said a friendly settlement between the two countries was not possible.
Cypriot Attorney-General Alecos Markides said he was pleased by the verdict.
``The general philosophy of this judgement is that Turkey exercises an effective control on this part of Cyprus and that it is legally responsible for human rights violations committed there,'' he said.
The court has not yet decided whether to fine Turkey and will issue a full verdict in a few months. As a signatory of the convention, Ankara must comply with the final ruling.
Thursday's verdict represents the latest in a long line of criticism out of Strasbourg about Turkey's human rights record and the issue has overshadowed its bid to become an EU state.
The EU granted Turkey candidate status in 1999 and last year it laid down a series of political and economic changes it wanted to see before starting membership talks. Improving regard for human rights was one of the key criteria.
U.N.-sponsored talks for a settlement over the Cyprus issue stalled late last year when Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash pulled out, saying he would not join negotiations unless his demands for a two-state settlement were addressed.
Markides told Reuters that Thursday's ruling should strengthen Cyprus's bargaining position.
``We are negotiating to find proper ways within an acceptable political compromise to restore the human rights of all the people of Cyprus, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots alike,'' he said.
(Additional reporting by Michele Kambas in Nicosia)
European Court Finds Against Turkey
Thursday May 10 2001
By PAUL AMES, Associated Press Writer
BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) - Europe's top human rights court ruled Thursday that Turkey has repeatedly violated human rights during its 27-year occupation of northern Cyprus.
In a case brought by the Cypriot government, the European Court of Human Rights' panel of judges voted that Turkey was guilty of 14 violations of its human rights convention.
The court, based in Strasbourg, France, said Turkey was responsible for the violations because it, ``exercised effective overall control of northern Cyprus through its military presence there.''
The Turkish government had argued it does not have jurisdiction over northern Cyprus, claiming responsibility lies with the Turkish-Cypriot administration, which is not recognized by any other nation apart from Turkey.
Turkish troops invaded Cyprus in 1974 after an abortive coup on the island by Greek Cypriots supporting union with Greece. In the wake of the invasion, 180,000 Greek Cypriots fled or were expelled from the north where Turkey maintains 35,000 troops in support of the local Turkish government.
Complaints upheld against Turkey included failing to investigate the disappearance of Greek Cypriots after the 1974 invasion; inhuman treatment of the families of missing Greek Cypriots; denying Greek Cypriots the right to return to their homes; failure to compensate for loss of property; interference with freedom of religion; restrictions on education and discrimination against Greek Cypriots living in the Karpas Peninsula in the Turkish-controlled North.
``Conditions under which the population (of Karpas) was condemned to live were debasing and violated the very notion of respect for the human dignity of its members,'' the court said in a statement.
However, the court rejected Cypriot claims that Turkey violated other clauses in the European Convention on Human Rights, including those relating to slavery, forced labor, and freedom of assembly.
There was no immediate reaction from the Turkish government, but Foreign Minister Tahsin Ertugruloglu of the breakaway Turkish Cypriot Republic condemned the court ruling.
``This is a disturbing example of Europe's understanding of justice,'' Ertugruloglu told private CNN-Turk television. ``It is shamefully trying to place Turkey in the electric chair ... Turkey has done nothing to be ashamed of in Cyprus.''
The Cyprus government and Greek Cypriot political parties hailed the court's ruling as a triumph.
``This is a major victory for Cyprus,'' Attorney-General Alecos Markides, told Cyprus radio from Strasbourg. ``Cyprus has won the battle on substantial points and has proved that the country responsible for what is happening in the occupied area of Cyprus is Turkey.''
The ruling is binding on Turkey, which should now present proposals to other members of the 43-nation Council of Europe outlining how it intends to correct rights violations in Cyprus.
However, it was unclear how Turkey would react. Since 1998, Turkey has refused to comply with another binding European court ruling which ordered the payment of $611,000 damages to a Greek Cypriot woman driven from her home after the invasion.
The Cyprus issue and its human rights record are major hindrances to Turkey's bid for membership of the 15-nation European Union
Turkey guilty of human rights abuse
Turkey's treatment of Greek Cypriots is under fire
BBC Thursday, 10 May, 2001
The European Court of Human Rights has found Turkey guilty of human rights abuses related to its 27-year occupation of northern Cyprus. By a vote of 16 to one, the court found that Ankara had violated the human rights of Greek Cypriots living in the north of the island when Turkish forces invaded in 1974.
In a blow to Turkish hopes to join the European Union, the court found that Ankara abused Greek Cypriots' right to life, liberty and to security.
The Foreign Minister of the breakaway Turkish Cypriot Republic rejected the ruling, saying "Turkey has done nothing to be ashamed of in Cyprus".
'Turkey exercised control'
The court dismissed Turkey's assertion that it was not responsible for actions in northern Cyprus because it is an independent state.
The Strasbourg-based judges ruled that Turkey "exercised effective overall control of northern Cyprus through its military presence there".
Only Turkey recognises the Turkish Cypriot administration as independent.
The Cypriot Government brought the claims against Turkey, 14 of which were upheld by the court.
Among other counts, Turkey was found guilty of
failing to investigate the deaths of roughly 1,500 people who disappeared in the invasion;
inhuman treatment of the families of missing Greek Cypriots;
denying some 180,000 Greek Cypriots the right to return to their homes;
failure to compensate for loss of property; interference with freedom of religion
The court rejected charges relating to slavery and forced labour, and freedom of assembly.
The court has not yet decided if it will impose a fine.
As a signatory of the European Convention on Human Rights, Turkey is obliged to find ways of rectifying the human rights violations.
But it has failed to act on a previous binding European Court ruling regarding the invasion.
It comes a day after the death from cancer of Nicos Sampson, the leader of a Greek-inspired coup that prompted the Turkish invasion.
Mr Sampson, who campaigned successfully for Cypriot independence from Britain in the 1950s, hoped to unify Cyprus with Greece.
Five days after he briefly took power in the 1974 putsch, 35,000 Turkish troops invaded the north of the island, where they remain.
[More Information on the Judgement]