Lobby for Cyprus is a non-party-political human rights organisation campaigning for a reunited Cyprus.
Print this page Print Bookmark and Share
Summer 2008 Issue 21

28 June 2008
Turkey’s obligation to return all property
The Demades v Turkey case at the European Court of Human Rights is the third successful case dealing with compensations from Turkey in matters of property rights.

The first case was Loizidou v Turkey when the right of property and the confirmation of ownership being the possession of a title-deed from the Land Registry of the Republic of Cyprus was set out. The second was Xenides-Arestis v Turkey when the cost of occupation in the fenced-off city of Famagusta was determined. The third case, which determines the cost of the occupation of Kyrenia, is the Demades v Turkey case.

Following in the footsteps of Loizidou, Xenides-Arestis and Demades: It cannot be made clearer and these are not just claims – that only those with title-deeds as registered at the Land Registry of the Republic of Cyprus are the owners of property in Cyprus, including in the occupied areas.

These three landmark cases have cemented the rights of the true owners of property in the occupied areas. They are decisions which cannot be ignored by politicians seeking to negotiate a solution. As Lobby for Cyprus has always asserted, for a solution to be just and to last, it needs to respect the human rights of individuals. 

Applications to the ECHR are relatively simple to submit. There is a standard application form which needs to be completed covering basic information about the applicant(s), a statement of facts and a statement of violations. Although individuals can submit this application on their own and without legal representation, it is advisable for legal assistance to be obtained when drafting the statement of violations.

It should be noted that consideration of cases relating to the issue of property in the occupied areas has currently been suspended pending decisions by the ECHR in several cases. The suspension is likely to last for at least 18 months. However it is extremely important for individuals to gather and preserve evidence. Such evidence includes:
  • title-deeds to the property including ensuring that if the original owner has passed away the inheriting individual has registered the transfer of property;
  • the taking of sworn witness statements from those who have knowledge about the property’s location, content and past use; and
  • evidence of the current use of the property and the state that it is in.
Applications relating to the invasion and continued occupation by Turkey are not however restricted to the issue of property. As illustrated by the case of Varnavas and others v Turkey the issue of the missing is a live issue before the Court and definitely worthwhile litigating. In fact many pending applications concern both the fate of missing persons and claims for property.

The Lobby for Cyprus legal team is available to discuss and assist individuals interested in pursuing their claim before the couts. Please call contact us on +44 (0)20 8888 2556 or by email.