Turkey to pay record compensation to Greek Cypriots

Photo: Turkey to pay record compensation to Greek Cypriots / Turkey

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled for Turkey to pay 90 million euros in compensation to Cyprus for the Turkish military's 1974 intervention in one of the largest judgments in its history, Hurriyet Daily News reported.

30 million euros of the compensation package would be reserved for the missing Greek Cypriots and distributed to their living relatives, while 60 million euros in damages will be paid for "the enclaved Greek-Cypriot residents of the Karpas peninsula," according to the ECHR ruling.

Europe's top human rights court said the passage of time did not erase responsibility in the case and ordered Turkey to pay the compensation in 18 months.

The heaviest compensation ruling up to today came when the ECHR ruled for Turkey to pay 13 million euros over Ankara's violations of the Greek Cypriots' property rights in 2009.

Some analysts have suggested that the latest record compensation ruling may affect the fragile ongoing peace process in Cyprus.

Negotiators from each side of the divided island restarted talks on Feb. 27 by embarking on visits to guarantor powers Turkey and Greece and holding meetings on the fresh reunification talks.

Negotiators Andreas Mavroyiannis for the Greek Cypriot side and Kudret Ozersay for the Turkish Cypriot side made reciprocal visits to Ankara and Athens, respectively, for the first time in 55 years.

FM: Ruling not binding

Before the announcement of the latest verdict, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the ECHR's ruling would "neither be binding nor carry any value" for Ankara.

"The case has been brought to the agenda within a decade and in international law, it's actually not binding and it does not have any value with respect to our views. It has many legal disadvantages and the timing is very problematic,"Davutoglu told reporters on May 12.

The Turkish military intervention in Cyprus in 1974, following a coup that brought a hardline Greek administration to power on the island, resulted in the division of Cyprus and led to decades of scarce contact. Greek Cypriots rejected a peace plan in 2004 shortly after they joined the EU as a member, even as the Turkish community agreed to establish a new partnership with the Greek Cypriots.

"If there is such a sanction, this is of course a probability; we'll be giving an official view," the minister said, adding that the timing of the judgment was inappropriate because the reunification talks between Greek and Turkish Cypriots were "actually getting to a certain pace, after so many efforts."

"Such a decision will affect the psychological atmosphere of the comprehensive negotiations on the island. It's not correct if there is such a sanction; this is going to affect the peace negotiations on Cyprus. It's going negatively affect the psychological atmosphere," he said.

In a judgment delivered on May 10, 2001, the ECHR found that Turkey had violated conventions numerous times as result of the military operations it conducted in northern Cyprus in July and August 1974.

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