Cyprus calls on Turkey to pay outstanding property compensation

Nicosia on Tuesday urged Turkey to comply with the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) concerning outstanding compensation in Greek Cypriot property cases on the ethnically divided island of Cyprus.

Cyprus said Turkey had failed to pay compensation in excess of 50 million euros in over 30 cases belonging to the Xenides-Arestis group, Greek newspaper Kathimerini reported.

Ankara had also yet to examine individual measures pertaining to Greek Cypriot national Titina Loizidou, who applied for her property in Kyrenia, it said.

Some 160,000 Greek Cypriots who left homes and property behind in the summer of 1974 when Turkey invaded and split the island in two, and an agreement between the two sides which later saw that 40,000 Turkish Cypriots relocated to the Turkish-controlled north.

In 2005, the Immovable Property Commission was established under pressure from the ECHR by the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) in an attempt to deal with the Cypriots’ claims over their properties in the south and the north of Cyprus after the island was divided. The commission has come under criticism for being ineffective.

Turkey’s outstanding debt as of March 13, 2019 totals over 52 million euros for the Xenides-Arestis group, Kathimerini said, in addition to the over 103 million euros it owes in a Cyprus vs. Turkey case and over 240,000 euros in the Varnava cases, concerning Greek Cypriot missing persons.

Greek Cypriot property is one of a string of issues plaguing relations between Turkey on the one hand and Greece and Cyprus on the other.

Turkey has increasingly conducted naval exercises in the Mediterranean and Aegean in recent years, taking an increasingly assertive stance against what it says are Greek and Cypriot efforts to exclude it from access to recently discovered natural gas reserves.

On Monday, the founder of Turkey’s Blue Homeland doctrine, which lays claim to expansive territorial waters in the Aegean, Mediterranean and Black seas, accused Greece of having plans to invade the western part of Turkey during the failed coup attempt of 2016.

Retired admiral Cihat Yaycı made the remarks during a discussion programme on Turkey’s Ulusal TV, where he said Athens had allocated land and naval forces to carry out the alleged operation.

Over 300 people were killed and more than 2,100 were injured during the failed putsch of July 15, 2016, which Ankara maintains was orchestrated by a religious group known as the Gülen movement. Ankara maintains the religious group, with U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gülen at helm, led a long-running scheme to overthrow Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan by infiltrating Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.

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