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Thursday, January 12, 2012

ECHR awards Greek Cypriots damages due to Turkish occupation

ECHR awards Greek Cypriots damages due to Turkish occupation

Turkey has been ordered to pay thousands of euro in damages to Greek Cypriots for violating their human right to peaceful enjoyment of their property in Cyprus’ northern Turkish occupied areas. 

The European Court of Human Rights on Tuesday delivered its judgment regarding the allegation by 13 Greek Cypriot applicants (Lordos and Others v. Turkey) that “the Turkish occupation of the northern part of Cyprus following the 1974 conflict had deprived them of their homes and properties”. 

In its judgment today, the Court awarded each of the applicants between EUR 100,000 and EUR 8,000,000 “for pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages and EUR 15,000 jointly to all applicants for costs and expenses”.

In its principal judgment, delivered on 2 November 2010, the Court held in particular that there had been a violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 (protection of property) as concerns eight of the applicants and a violation of Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) with regard to seven of the applicants.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

Turkey occupied 36,2 percent of the sovereign territory of the Republic and forcibly expelled about 180.000 Greek Cypriots from their homes. Another 20.000 Greek Cypriots, who had remained in the occupied areas, were also forced to eventually abandon their homes and seek refuge in the safety of the government controlled areas. Today, fewer than 500 enclaved Greek Cypriots remain in the occupied areas.

Turkey still deprives the displaced Greek Cypriots of their right to return to their homes and properties. This has given rise to appeals to the European Court of Human Rights, which has issued major decisions on Turkey’s violations of the European Convention.

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