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Media Watch 2003

15 May 2003
Source: Cyprus Mail
Author: George Psyllides
Comment: The following article appeared in the Cyprus Mail of Nicosia on 15 May 2003
Government relaxed over prospect of Turkish Cypriots claiming properties

GOVERNMENT Spokesman Kypros Chrysostomides yesterday denied there were any indications that the Turkish Cypriot regime was planning to send waves of Turkish Cypriots to the government-controlled areas to claim their properties and put the government on the spot.

Daily Politis yesterday reported that Ankara and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash were planning to send people to the free areas to claim their properties or compensation, aiming at forcing the government to restore their properties or pay up.

After the Turkish invasion, abandoned Turkish Cypriot properties were taken over by the Guardian of Turkish Cypriot properties, which will return them upon a solution of the political problem.

Chrysostomides yesterday said: “Until today, no such phenomena have emerged.”

He reiterated the government line that Turkish Cypriots could claim their property if they permanently settled in the free areas.

“If there are any difficulties or disagreements they could appeal in court against any decision made by the Guardian of Turkish Cypriot properties,” the spokesman said.

Chrysostomides said the Republic provided shelter to all Turkish Cypriots intending to stay.

“As it happens with the Gypsies, some come with the intention to stay but suddenly decide that they have to return or that living here does not suit them so they return.

“So the issue of permanent settlement is examined according to each case,” Chrysostomides said.

Commenting on Turkish actions to bypass the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on the issue of properties, Chrysostomides said there was no possibility the ECHR would accept such an arrangement.

Foreign Minister George Iacovou, who flew to Strasbourg yesterday, confirmed that the Turkish side was trying hard to bypass the ECHR.

“They have an extensive activity in the area; they have sent a large group of experts who had contacts with the Court and European Council Secretariat, concerning the Titina Loizidou case, and they have made various supposedly compromise proposals,” Iakovou said.

In 1998, the ECHR ordered Turkey to pay Loizidou, a refugee from Kyrenia, £457,000 for depriving her the right to enjoy her property in the Turkish occupied north of the island.

“The Council of Europe is important for us because it is the guardian of the convention on the protection of human rights and it is also the home of the ECHR,” Iacovou said."