Justice

ACTION CYPRUS

AN HEC PROJECT

Justice for Cyprus

 

Second Report of the European Commission of Human Rights

Turkey's invasion in Cyprus and aftermath

(19 May 1976 to 10 February 1983)


New population expulsions, Turkish colonization, aggravated and continuing violations

Turkey's violations of the convention

Cyprus, as a state concerned in proceedings under the Convention is not at liberty to publish any Report by the Commission on the merits (final factual findings) until such time as the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe decides on publication. Accordingly, final factual findings, if any, by the Commission cannot be set out here. Nonetheless Cyprus charges against Turkey can be disclosed as these were published in October 1978 by the Commission after it had declared Cyprus' application admissible, i.e. that it would fully investigate and that Turkey had to answer a prima facie case made out by Cyprus.

Turkey's Objections

Turkey, as in the earlier applications, raised every conceivable technical objection to the Commission's jurisdiction. In particular it claimed that no application could be considered because:

-Turkey did not recognize the government of Cyprus

Commissions ruling:

The Government of the Republic was internationally recognized, but in any event to allow Turkey to avoid enforcement of the Convention "by asserting that they do not recognize the Government..would defeat the purpose of the Convention" (Admissibility Report, The Law, para. 13).

-Turkey had no control over the occupied area which was under the exclusive jurisdiction of a "Turkish Federated State of Cyprus".

Commission's Ruling:

Turkey's jurisdiction in Cyprus could not be excluded by asserting that such an entity "allegedly exercised jurisdiction". It was the presence of Turkish Armed Forces, operating solely under direction of the Turkish Government and acting as "authorized agents of Turkey", which prevented the Government of the Republic of Cyprus from exercising jurisdiction in the occupied area, and Turkey was responsible for her Army's actions (Ibid., paras. 23-25).

Further proceedings:

In November 1983 the Commission announced that it had adopted its Report. According to Article 31.1 of the Convention this Report would have been

"on the facts and stating its opinion as to whether the facts found disclose a breach by the State concerned of its obligations under the Convention".

The substance underlying the proceedings in Cyprus vs. Turkey (Third Application).


Here are the Contents:

 


Missing persons

Relevant articles of the European Convention on Human Rights:

"Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be deprived of his liberty..." (Article 5)

"Everyone has the right to respect for his ...family life..." (Article 8)

Charge laid against Turkey:

About 2,000 Greek Cypriots, a considerable number being civilians, are still missing. They were last seen alive in the occupied area of Cyprus after hostilities had ceased and under arrest by the Turkish army or armed Turks acting under its direction. Many had been seen in detention in prisons in Turkey or in Cyprus. Turkey nonetheless continued to prevent any investigation by international Committee of the Red Cross. For 9 years, Turkey through her puppet regime, declined to act on 5 UN General Assembly Resolutions which sought to activate a humanitarian Committee on Missing Persons to investigate the fate of all Cypriots missing as a result of the invasion. In response there was prevarication, refusal to co-operate and addition of new and obstructive conditions.

Fresh evidence about some of the missing persons last seen alive in Turkish detention revealed that some were in Adana and Amasia prisons in Turkey. others had been photographed after their surrender or in Turkish ships on their way to Turkey. Yet others had been heard on Turkish radio, broadcasting messages to their families. In the absence of proof that the missing persons had been killed or had died, Turkey was responsible for continuing deprivation of liberty of all those persons shown to have been in her custody.

Grace infringement of family rights had also occurred. Families suffered severely, being uncertain whether their loved ones were alive or dead because no account had been given of the fate of those who had disappeared although in Turkish custody.

Turkey's defense:

Turkey was not represented at the oral hearing after the Commission's dismissal of her jurisdictional objections, which included the objection that more than six months had passed since it was known that 2,000 Greek Cypriots were missing.

Commission's verdict:

The Commission, having found it established in three cases, and having found sufficient indications in an indefinite number of cases, that Greek Cypriots who are still missing were unlawfully deprived of their liberty, in Turkish custody in 1974, noting that Turkey has failed to account for the fate of these persons, concludes by 16 votes against one that Turkey has violated Article 5 of the Convention.

 

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Displacement of persons and separation of families

Relevant article of the European Convention of Human Rights:

"Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence". (Article 8)

Charge laid against Turkey:

The Turkish army sealed off the demarcation line running across the island and known as the green line in Nicosia. They physically prevented about 190,000 displaced Greek Cypriots (now including children born as refugees) from returning to their homes, and continued this policy without remission for a decade, thus aggravating earlier Turkish violations of refugees' rights for which the Commission had as long ago as 1976 condemned Turkey.

Turkey's continuing failure to allow families who had fled across the line to be reunited with their remaining relatives in the occupied area was an aggravating factor.

Condition for the 8,000 Greek Cypriots who remained in the occupied area in 1976 (mainly in Karpasia) were so harsh that between 1976 and 1979, about 7,000 were forced to sign applications to leave after suffering violence, threats, curfews, looting, forced labor, refusal of medical facilities and denial of secondary education. Most of the violence and harassment was effected through Anatolian settlers. Those Greek Cypriots who remained in the occupied area were often separated from their children: in order to receive an adequate education, children had to be sent in the free area and were not permitted by Turkey to return unless they formally acknowledged Turkish jurisdiction over Cyprus.

Turkey's defense:

At the admissibility stage, Turkey put forward jurisdictional objections. It should be borne in mind that Turkey's attitude, manifested in the first two applications, was to refuse to participate in Commission proceedings -in default of her procedural obligations under the Convention- once her jurisdictional objections were overruled. Turkey did not appear at the oral hearing in March 1983.

Commission's verdict:

The Commission concludes by thirteen votes against one that, by the refusal to allow the return of more than 170,000 Greek Cypriot refugees to their homes in the north Cyprus, Turkey violated and was continuing to violate Article 8 of the Convention in all these cases.

The Commission concludes by twelve votes against one that, by the eviction of Greek Cypriots from houses, including their own homes, by their transportation to other places within the north of Cyprus, or by the deportation across the demarcation line, Turkey has equally violates Article 8 of the Convention.

The Commission concludes by thirteen votes against one that, by the refusal to allow the return to their homes in the north of Cyprus to several thousand Greek Cypriots who had been transferred to the south under inter-communal agreements, Turkey violated, and was continuing to violate Article 8 of the Convention in all these cases.

The Commission concludes by fourteen votes against one with one abstention that, by the separation of Greek Cypriot families brought about by measures of displacement in a substantial number of cases, Turkey has again violated Article 8 of the Convention.

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Deprivation of possessions

Relevant article of the European Convention of Human Rights:

"Every natural person is entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of the possession. No one shall be deprived of his possessions..." (Protocol No. 1 Article 1)

Charge laid against Turkey:

The Greek Cypriot refugees who had been driven from their homes or had fled at the time of Turkey's invasion or soon thereafter continued to be deprived of their property by the Turkish Armed Forces' refusal to allow them to return. Under Turkey's direction there was now a consolidation of informal seizures. The Turkish Cypriot puppet authorities purported in 1977 to pass a so-called "Law to Provide for the Housing and Distribution of Land and Property of Equal Value" and amended this in 1982 to give semi-permanent definitive certificates of possession to Turkish settlers (including soldiers of the occupation force) and Turkish Cypriots who had been handed Greek Cypriots property.

Wholly new deprivations occurred in respect of the 7,000 Greek Cypriots (mainly from the Karpass) who, under duress, were compelled to leave their homes and possessions and to move to the free area.

More wanton destruction of cultural objects, especially of Greek Orthodox churches and religious treasures, also occurred. Remaining antiquities were discovered to be "saleable" and found their way via Turkish hands to international dealers. Turkish Cypriots wrote about destruction, pillage, theft, smuggling, and plunder.

Turkey's defense:

At the admissibility stage, Turkey put forward jurisdictional objections. It should be borne in mind that Turkey's attitude, manifested in the first two applications, was to refuse to participate in Commission proceedings -in default of her procedural obligations under the Convention- once her jurisdictional objections were overruled. Turkey did not appear at the oral hearing in March 1983.

Commission's verdict:

The Commission by twelve votes against one, finds it established that there has been deprivation of possessions of Greek Cypriots on a large scale, the exact extent of which could not be determined. This deprivation must be imputed to Turkey under the Convention and it has not been shown that any of these interferences were necessary for any of the purposes mentioned in Article 1 of Protocol 1. The Commission concludes that this provision has been violated by Turkey.

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Discrimination

Relevant article of the European Convention of Human Rights:

"The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in this Convention shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as race... religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority... or other status". (Article 14)

Charge laid against Turkey:

Most of Turkey's violations were directed against members of one community only, namely the Greek Cypriot community, because of their ethnic origin, race and religion. Turkey's aim was to eliminate all traces of Greek civilization and to set up a demographically homogeneous ethnically Turkish and Muslim state in the occupied area. In another context this would be condemned as apartheid or cultural genocide.

Turkey's defense:

At the admissibility stage, Turkey put forward jurisdictional objections. It should be borne in mind that Turkey's attitude, manifested in the first two applications, was to refuse to participate in Commission proceedings -in default of her procedural obligations under the Convention- once her jurisdictional objections were overruled. Turkey did not appear at the oral hearing in March 1983.

Commission's verdict:

Having found violations of a number of Articles of the Convention, the Commission notes that the acts violating the Convention were exclusively directed against members of one of two communities in Cyprus, namely the Greek Cypriot community. It concludes by eleven votes to three that Turkey has thus failed to secure the rights and freedoms set forth in these Articles without discrimination on the grounds of ethnic origin, race, religion as required by Article 14 of the Convention.

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No remedies

Relevant article of the European Convention on Human Rights:

"Everyone whose rights and freedom... are violated shall have an effective remedy..." (Article 13)

Charge laid against Turkey:

In respect of new and continuing violations from May 1976 onwards no effective remedy was provided by Turkey, whether in her own courts or those of the area she occupied. Indeed, in the occupied area Turk's puppet regime had purported to enact "Constitution", depriving Greek Cypriots of virtually all human rights and conferring "constitutional protection" in respect of many rights only on Turks.

Turkey's defense:

At the admissibility stage, Turkey put forward jurisdictional objections. It should be borne in mind that Turkey's attitude, manifested in the first two applications, was to refuse to participate in Commission proceedings -in default of her procedural obligations under the Convention- once her jurisdictional objections were overruled. Turkey did not appear at the oral hearing in March 1983.

Commission's verdict:

The Commission by thirteen votes against one and with two abstentions, has found no evidence that effective remedies, as required by Article 13 of the Convention, were in fact available.

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Deprivation of liberty

1. Enclaved persons

The Commission, by eight votes against five and with two abstentions, concludes that the curfew imposed at night on enclaved Greek Cypriots in the north Cyprus, while a restriction of liberty, is not a deprivation of liberty within the meaning of Article 5(1) of the Convention.

The Commission, by twelve votes against two abstentions, further concludes that the alleged restrictions of movement outside the built-up area of villages in the north Cyprus would fall within the scope of Article 2 of Protocol No. 4, not ratifiedby either Cyprus or Turkey, rather within the scope of Article 5 of the Convention. It is therefore unable to find a violation of Article 5 insofar as the restrictions imposed on Greek Cypriots in order to prevent them from moving freely outside villages in the north of Cyprus are imputable to Turkey.

2. Detention centers

The Commission, by thirteen votes against one, concludes that, by the confinement of more than two thousand Greek Cypriots to detention centers established in schools and churches at Voni, Gypsou and Morphou, Turkey has violated Article 5(1) of the Convention.

The Commission, by thirteen votes against one, further concludes that, by the confinement of Greek Cypriots to private houses in Gypsou and Morphou, where they were kept under similar circumstances as in the detention centers, Turkey has equally violated Article 5(1).

The Commission, by ten votes against two with two abstentions, finally concludes that, by the confinement of Greek Cypriots to the Kyrenia Dome Hotel after 14 August 1974, Turkey has violated Article 5(1).

3. Prisoners and detainees

The Commission, by thirteen votes against one, concludes that the detention of Greek Cypriot military personnel in Turkey was not in conformity with Article 5(1) of the Convention.

The Commission, by thirteen votes against one, concludes that the detention of Greek Cypriot civilians in Turkey was equally not in conformity with Article 5(1).

Considering that it was unable to establish the imputability to Turkey under the Convention of the detention of 146 Greek Cypriots at Saray prison and Pavlides Garage in the Turkish sector of Nicosia, the Commission, by ten votes against two abstentions, does not consider itself called upon to express an opinion as to the conformity with Article 5 of the detention of Greek Cypriot prisoners in the north of Cyprus.

The Commission by fourteen votes against none, with two abstentions, has not found it necessary to examine the question of a breach of Article 5 with regard to persons accorded the status of prisoners of war.

The Commission by seven votes against six with three abstentions, decided not to consider as a separate issue the effect of detention on the exercise of the right to respect for one's private and family life and home (Article 8 of the Convention).

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Deprivation of life

The Commission, by fourteen votes against one, considers that the evidence before it constitutes very strong indications of violations of Article 2 of the Convention by Turkey in a substantial number of cases. The Commission restricted the taking of evidence to a hearing of a limited number of representative witnesses and the Delegation, during the period fixed for the hearing of witnesses, heard eye-witnesses only concerning the incident of Elia. The evidence obtained for this incident establishes the killing of twelve civilians near Elia by Turkish soldiers commanded by an officer contrary to Article 2.

In view of the very detailed material before it on other killings alleged by the applicant Government, the Commission by fourteen votes against one, concludes from the whole evidence that killings happened on a larger scale that in Elia.

There is nothing to show that any of these deprivations of life were justified under paras. (1) or (2) of Article 2.

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Ill-treatment

The Commission, by twelve votes against one, finds that the incidents of rape described in the cases referred to and regarded as established constitute "inhuman treatment" and thus violations of Article 3, for which Turkey is responsible under the Convention.

The Commission, by twelve votes against one, concludes that prisoners were in a number of cases physically ill-treated by Turkish soldiers. These acts of ill-treatment caused considerable injuries and at least in one case the death of the victim. By their severity they constitute "inhuman treatment" and thus violations of Article 3, for which Turkey is responsible under the Convention.

The Commission, by twelve votes against one, concludes that the withholding of an adequate supply of food and drinking water and of adequate medical treatment from Greek Cypriot prisoners held at Adana and detainees in the northern area of Cyprus, with the exception of Pavlides Garage and Saray prison, again constitutes, in the cases considered as established and in the conditions described, "inhuman treatment", and thus a violation of Article 3, for which Turkey is responsible under the Convention.

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Forced labor

The Commission by eight votes against three and with one abstention, finds that the incompleteness of the investigation with regard to the allegations of forced labor does not allow any conclusions to be made on this issue.

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Prepared by Constantinos A. Constantinides for Diaspora. Based on a publication issued by the Cyprus Bar Association P.1/1995-5000 P.O. Box 1446, Nicosia Cyprus ISBN 9963-38-112-X

A grieving mother holding photos of her missing son.
1600+ men, women and children still missing

Greek Cypriots taken prisoner and transported to Turkey.
up to 70,000 held hostage in concentration camps

A Greek Cypriot napalmed by the Turkish air-force.
5000+ massacred

Greek Cypriots subjected to humiliating and degrading treatment.
thousands raped and tortured
200,000 ethnically cleansed

Christian gave stones smashed by the Turks.
500+ churches desecrated or destroyed

The murder of Tasos Isaac.
murders of refugees continue to this day

The murder of Solomos Solomou.

2001/2005 HEC and Argyros Argyrou. Updated on 12 October 2005.