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Sunday, December 25, 2005

Domestic Remedies

Some Turkish columnists are delighted at the recent ECHR ruling in the case of Ms. Aresti even though Turkey was found guilty of human rights violations. Perhaps these columnists welcomed this decision because they are champions of human rights? Far from it, they welcomed the court’s ruling because they believe it to be a recognition of the legal system in the occupied north. Mr. Birand from the Turkish daily news in his column today stated “Even if it (court’s ruling) doesn’t mean any official recognition of the KKTC (occupied North), it certainly recognizes it as an entity.” Last April, ECHR ruled in this same case that effective domestic remedies were not possible because restitution was not being offered. Now the court is saying that a domestic remedy may be possible only if there is a genuine effective redress. To Mr. Birand, a genuine effective redress means...“This means the Greek Cypriot petitions will be postponed for at least 10 years. Turkey and the KKTC will gain some time, and the threat of paying so much compensation will be removed for a while.” What a humanitarian. Fortunately, that is not what the court's decision means, lets see what the court really says...“Turkey should introduce a remedy, within three months, which secures, in respect of the Convention violations identified in the judgment, genuinely effective redress for the applicant…”The court goes on to say "Such a remedy should be available within three months and redress should occur three months after that." So you see, its not 10 years as Mr. Birand stated. The court is seeking a proper remedy in a couple of months. Before the ECHR ruling, Mr. Talat expected the ruling to recommend that Turkey open internal judiciary means for refugees, that is why he rushed to create a new property compensation bill. Addressing concerns from Turkish nationalists, Mr. Talat said this..."The target of the new property law (adopted by the occupied North) does not aim to solve property problem in Cyprus." Correct, the target of this law is world public opinion. It is nothing more than a show meant to cover up the unprincipled reality that is the aftermath of the Turkish Invasion. The Turks are seeking more time to cement the division of Cyprus as 31 years is not long enough and they will hammer away at the idea that it’s the Greek Cypriots fault for maintaining this division. After all, it is the Greek Cypriots who rejected last year's Annan plan. Mr. Birand in his column today did not mention the “NO” vote once, he mentioned it twice. Well, Turkey succeeded in gaining time...a short period of time. The true test will be if Turkey allows Ms. Aresti access to her property. If not, will the ECHR accept the chump change offered by the Turks as compensation for lost property?

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