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Home arrow newsitems arrow CoE Questions Turkey on UnLawful Exploitation of Cyprus Refugees'Property+Warns Measures in 9 Months

CoE Questions Turkey on UnLawful Exploitation of Cyprus Refugees'Property+Warns Measures in 9 Months

Written by ACM
Friday, 08 December 2017
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*Strasbourg/Angelo Marcopolo/- 47 Member States-strong (including Russia) CoE's Top Political Body, its Committee of (Foreign) Ministers, officialy Raised Questions to Turkey about "Complicity" to "UnLawful Sales and Exploitation" of "Greek Cypriot" Refugees' "Homes and Properties" in the "Part of Cyprus" which is still Occupied by Ankara's Foreign Army, 43 Years after the 1974 Turkish Military Invasion of the now EU Member Country's Northern Territories, and Warned the Turks with "Measures", if they do Not "Address the Issue" in 9 Months Time, i.e. Before "September 2018".


    + Meanwhile, in Addition, the PanEuropean Organisation for Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law's Ministers also "Firmly Insisted, once again, that the Obligation to Pay the Just Satisfaction Awarded by the European Court, is UnConditional", and Called "the Turkish Authorities" to tell what "Steps" they took "for the Payment" due since several Years.


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    >>> It's Already during More than ... 35 Years Now (1992-2017 !), Starting as Early as since 1992, that the PanEuropean/International Community has been officially informed by the CoE, inter alia, also for Massive and Continuous Violations of Human Rights of Greek Cypriot Refugees/Displaced Persons, obliged to Flee the Turkish Military Invasion/Occupation of the Northern part of the Island since 1974, (i.e. about 20% of the Total Population of the Country), when the PanEuropean Organisation's Committee of Ministers authorized, for 1st Time, the Publication, in Strasbourg, of a "Hot" Report with the Conclusions of the European Committee on Human Rights, (which was, then, Key part of ECHR's Mechanism), that had, in fact, been Adopted since the 1980ies, (but held "Secret" until 1992, by the Opposition of a Turkish lobby)...  


    + Followed ECHR's landmark Judgements Condemning Ankara's Government on 1994-1998, initially at the individual Case of a Woman Refugee/IDP, Tina Loizidou, (Comp. Loizidou's statements to "Eurofora"s co-Founder, Published then at "TCWeekly" or "PIO/CNA"), and afterwards at the InterState case "Cyprus v. Turkey" of 2001, concerning also All G//C Refugees/IDPs, (Following an Historic, 1st ever, Public Hearing of the Parties in Strasbourg on 1994 : See "Eurofora" Co-Founder's Publication from the spot, then at "PIO/CNA").


    Since then, and After Various Other ECHR's Judgements on Similar Cases, particularly between 2006 - 2010/2013, concerning Mainly the Concrete Ways through which this Strasbourg Court's case-law should be Applied in real Practice, (which had, Meanwhile, become also an International Legal Standard, as attested, among others, also by the Landmark Report of UNO's Expert, Professor Pineiro, published by the UNCHCRefugees, Together with the UNHCHRights and UNSGeneral at nearby Geneva : Comp. "Eurofora" UN Top Legal Expert Pineiro's Statements to "Eurofora"s co-Founder, Published then at "TCWeekly": ... + ..., etc), ECHR's Great Chamber issued its Latest Important Judgement on this Issue on Spring 2014, when Euro-Judges mainly Denounced Strongly "Any ...COMPLICITY in Any  UnLawful Sale and Exploitation of Greek Cypriot Homes and Property in the northern part of Cyprus", as long as the still Continuing, Massive Violations by Turkey of Refugees/Displaced Persons' rights had Not Ceased, (See, "Eurofora"'s NewsReport  at : ...).


    >>> Today, this key Point is officially at the Base of CoE's Committee of Ministers' Latest Decision on that Issue, Published Now, which Also Reminds the Fact that the above-mentioned, Landmark ECHR 2014 Judgement clearly says that "Any" such "possible Permission, Participation, Acquiescence or Otherwise Complicity" in that delicate matter, is blatantly "Not Consistent" with "the Conclusions of the Main (ECHR) Judgement(s)", on GreekCyriot Refugees/IDP, and particularly its 2001 Judgement (Comp. Supra).


    Indeed, during all this time (1992-1994-2001 - 2017), as it was Denounced officially Earlier by the Government of Cyprus, in a Memorandum send to -and Published by- the CoE on December 2017, "Turkey has peristently failed and refused to take measures to suppress the unlawful sale or exploitation of Greek Cypriot Homes and property in the Occupied areas", where, "because of the Continuing Denial of Access to their properties, the Displaced persons have Lost all Control over, as well as the Possibilities to enjoy their land", by a "physical Exclusion of Greek Cypriots" from the Territories Invaded and Occupied by Ankara's Military :


    => Thus, "the Extent of the Illegal (Economic/Estate) Development of (Violently Usurpated) Property in the Occypied Areas, in Recent Years (2001 to 2007) has been on the Rise", reminded nowadays Cyprus, citting also relevant "Evidence of this", Already "Previously .. submitted ... to (CoE's) Committee" of Ministers, as well as the Fact that "its Accuracy has Not been Disputed".


    - F.ex., among others, the Extent of that "illegal development in the Occupied areas covered, approximately, 107 sq. KM" "in 2001", and it was Doubled : "207 sq. KM" "in 2007", "and 270 sq.KM" "in 2014". It "includes at least 85 Large and Medium scale Major (Economic/Estate) Developments", "as Evidenced by the relevant Certificates of Registration".


    + Moreover, "Data Collection and Articles in the Turkish Cypriot Press, Also show that Land Distribution to family members of Turkish Cypriot Politicians, the construction of Luxury Hotels, Land Distribution for Universities, and Large-Scale Concessions to Young Landless persons" are Continuing in Parallel, that officially communicated by the CoE text recalls.


    => So that, by adding also all this, through the Persistance of such Massive Human Rights Violations of G/C. Refugees/IDP, there is even a Threat to provoke Negative Political Consequences, because, in Fact, "Turkey is Attempting to Create an Irreversible "de facto" Situation, Permanently Obstructing the Return to Greek Cypriots of their properties in the Occupied Areas of Cyprus", it concludes.


    The Way in which such a Threat operates in real practice, was Spectacularly Reminded, these Same Days, also by a Demonstration of young Cypriot Students, during the Visit of Turkey's President Erdogan in Athens, which had Chosen, as Unique Moto to call Against the notoriously Massive Import of Turkish "SETTLERS" from Anatolia in the Occupied Territories of Cyprus, (See relevant Photo), who are generally known as usually being the No 1 illegal Foreign Migrants' Group, to whom are reportedly Given also several Usurpated Greek Cypriot Refugees/IDPs' Homes and/or Other Properties, in Addition even to illegal "Passports" Massively attributing so-called "Citizenship" :


    A Thorny Issue against which, Already in the Past, Both CoE's Committee of Ministers, and CoE's Parliamentary Assembly, had adopted Decisions Warning that such attempts to "Alter the Demography" of the Island, (Against which, notoriously struggled even the Turkish Cypriot Dissident Journalist Kutlu Adali, who was Brutaly Murdered in the 1990ies, resulting in a Condamnation of Turkey by ECHR on 2004), Risk to Provoke even an additional "Political Obstacle" to a Peacefull Agreement for a real ReUnification of Cyprus in the Future, (by Artificially and illegaly creating a Group of - Foreign Origin- Population with obvious Interests to Perpetuate the Division of the Country, and, finally, its Partition, in one way or another).


    In Front of that, Turkey Focused its Claims mainly into Seeking to Limit, directly and/or indirectly, the Greek Cypriot Refugees/IPDs' Human Rights, more or less, Only on a partial Financial "Compensation" for what they called "Loss of Use", through a Controversial "Committee" that Ankara's protegées set up, and Unilaterally Control, in the Territories of Cyprus Occupied by Turkey's Military, while, in Addition, excessively Restricting or even Excluding the "Restitution" of Refugees/IDP's Family Homes and other Private Properties.


    + Moreover, Ankara went as Far as to dare Claim, also nowadays, (by their "Note" communicated in Strasbourg this Month) that CoE should (in their view) even ... "STOP" Monitoring the Implementation of ECHR's Judgements which have repeatedly Condemned Turkey for such (a.o.) Massive Violations of Human Rights in Cyprus, irrespectively of the Fact that almost all such ECHR's Decisions have Not Yet been Implemented, and almost all concerned Victims are Still Suffering from - and Exposed to- such Massive Human Rights' Violations !   


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    >>> But CoE's Top Body, its Ministerial Committee, concluding its Human Rights' Session of Winter 2017, this Week in Strasbourg, Rejected such Turkish Claims, by Asking, on the Contrary, from Ankara's Authorities to Give to the CoE "Information" on How might, eventually, be "Adressed", or not, "the Issue of Possible UnLawful Sale and Exploitation of the Properties in question", as it is stated in the relevant CoE's Decision, which has just been just published.


    In particular, CoE's Top Political body, its Ministrial Committee, (which has the Duty to "Supervise" the Execution of ECHR's Judgements by the Condemned States), officially Raised Questions about the uncertain "Effectiveness" of the "Existing ... Mechanism(s)" in the Occupied Territories of Cyprus, still held by Ankara's Foreign Invasion/Occupation Army, and its "Practical Implementation" in reality.


    + Also, CoE Warned Turkey that it intends "to Assess", on the basis of relevant Facts, the "Need for Further Measures", that might prove necessary to Explicitly Ask Ankara to Take.


    In this regard, Cyprus has already suggested to the CoE,  a relevant Series of possible Practical Measures, that Turkey could and should Take in order to Comply with the above-mentioned ECHR's Judgements repeatedly Condemning Ankara for Massive and persisting Violations of Greek Cypriot Refugees/IDPs' Human Rights, (and, especially, ECHR's 2014 Finding : Comp. Supra), according to a relevant Note officialy published this week by the CoE in Strasbourg :


    - F.ex., inter alia :


* "Cease <<Transferts>> (including, but not limited to <<Sales>>, <<Leases>> and <<Mortgages>>) of Displaced Person's Properties, withOut their Consent";


* "Cease encouraging or promoting the Sale and/or Use of Greek Cypriot Properties, in the Occupied Areas of Cyprus, withOut their Consent";


* "Halt all Constructions on Greek Cypriot Properties, in the Occupied areas, carried out withOut the Consent of the Lawful property Owners";


and, in parallel, naturally "Pay the Amounts awared by the (PanEuropean) Court in its ... Judgement of 12 May 2014", (Comp. Supra), for the Damages Already Inflicted to the Victims until then.


----------------------------------------


    + Last, but not least, by Fixing the above-mentioned Time Deadline of 9 Months, until "September 2018", CoE's Top Political Body, in Fact, gave to itself a Potentially Valuable Legal and Political Tool in order, also, to Help exert some Beneficial Pressure Towards an eventual Resumption of UNO-sponsored Talks for establishing Peace and ReUnification of Cyprus in the foreseable Future, since that Time-laps includes the forthcoming, crucial Presidential Elections in Cyprus, scheduled for the Beginning of Next Year.


    The Latest Deadlock witnessed at nearby Switzerland, earlier this year (2017), despite some notable Progress previously, mainly because of Ankara's Reluctance to Withdraw its Occupation Army when a Solution might have been agreed, and Turkey's persistent Claim to have a possibility for even more Unilateral Military Interventions during an Endless Future, under that or that Pretext, which has Blocked the Process, has, indeed, in the Meantime, been Exploited by some Turkish Politicians in order to either Threaten a Definite End of that Peace Process, and/or to Ask for even More Political Concessions, Threatening to Worsen, instead of Easing the current situation.


    So that even a simply Human Rights' issue, might, eventually, Help also for Peace and ReUnification, in a possible Solution of the Cyprus Issue, according to EU/CoE and UNO's Basic Values and Legal Principles.

 

(../..)

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People in Europe and the World expect from CoE to make a succes of its "Monitoring" for Human Rights and Democracy, despite difficulties, said Finland's President Tarja Halonen to "EuroFora" at a crucial moment for the mecanism built 15 years ago by the paneuropean organization which celebrates its 60th Anniversary in 2009.

Halonen, known as "Mother" of CoE's "Monitoring" mecanism, a long-time MEP and former Foreign Minister before becoming Finland's President, holds a long experience in the mattter, after also serving twice as CoE and EU Chairwoman in the past. That's why she is well placed to judge how CoE's "monitoring" should deal today with some crucial issues of importance both to CoE and to the EU.

The move came just a Month before a crucial, last visit to Turkey, scheduled for June, by the President of CoE''s "Monitoring" Committee, Ukranian MEP Serge Holovaty, to finalize his Report on Ankara, the CoE Member State with the longest Monitoring procedure. From its results depends its overall credibility.

This is a Test-case, because, in fact, it's in order to avoid Sanctions threatened against Turkey by a CoE's Assembly's April 1995 Resolution for grave Human Rights violations, Democracy gaps, the continuing Military Occupation in Cyprus, the unresolved Kurdish problem, Aegean differend with Greece, etc., that MEPs decided to create, for the 1st time on April 1996, a "Monitoring" proces, allegedly destinated to check, without excluding Countries who did not fulfill all CoE's standards.

In the Past, the obliged withdrawal of Greece's Military regime and of its "Civil" cover-up out of the CoE had helped bring back Democracy in 1974. But, on the contrary, since April 1996, the idea was to "monitor" Human Rights' respect while keeping most concerned Countries inside the CoE. After Turkey's oldest example, this was extended also to several former "Eastern" European Countries, even if CoE's Assembly has imposed to some of them (fex. Ukraine, Russia, etc., after Belarus, Serbia, etc) various "Sanctions", that Ankara always avoided. Curiously more succesful even than .. USA itself, (a CoE "Observer" since 1995), which has been at least threatened with sanctions some years ago..

EU-effects of CoE's Monitoring process became obvious between 2001-2008, since the "closure" of this procedure, when CoE felt that a Country had met most of its Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law obligations, (i.e. the "Copenhagen Criteria" for the EU), helped trigger Negotiations with the EU for "Accession" or other closer relations : This occured already before the 2004 and 2007 EU Enlargements to former "Eastern" European Countries, as well as for the commencement of "accession" negotiations with Croatia, and of "open-ended" negotiations with Turkey in 2005.

    But a stricking new development are Holovaty's recent findings that on core Human Rights issues as Torture and Freedom of Expression, Turkey, even "5 Years after" CoE closed its "Monitoring", back in 2004, inciting EU to start accession Negotiations in 2005, still presents grave problems.

    His findings are of crucial importance after a 2008 CoE Resolution called, "if need be", to "seriously consider the possibility of Re-Opening the Monitoring procedure for Turkey" : A move which might affect Ankara's controversial EU bid, since EU Accession Negotiations are based on the Hypothesis that the Candidate fullfils the "Copenhagen Criteria" (See above)..
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    Holovaty expressed his will to check  "Matters still Outstanding" and  those that he "didn't have an opportunity to discuss" at an earlier visit this year, "in order to discuss the more complex issues in greater depth", at his forthcoming New Visit to Ankara, before the December 2009 EU Summit.  This is all based on the 2004 CoE Resolution which stresses that, CoE "will continue.. post-monitoring Dialogue with the Turkish authorities,...in addition to a 12-points list,..and on any Other Matter that might arise in connection with Turkey’s Obligations as a CoE member state".

    CoE's Resolution also asks  from Turkey "to secure the proper Implementation of Judgements, particularly in the Cyprus v. Turkey InterState case", of 2001, which concerns also the plight of many Hundreds of MISSING People. It adds Turkey's obligations to "execute" ECHR's Judgements in the Loizidou case,..and in particular adopt General Measures to avoid repetition or continuation of Violations found by the Court" to the detriment of Refugees.

    Nevertheless, Holovaty said to "EuroFora" that "MISSING" persons,"might be included" and cannot be excluded, but he has yet to examine the situation "to find out  which issues will be raised" to the Turkish Government.

    Therefore, "EuroFora" asked Halonen, as the Historic "Mother" of CoE's Monitoring mecanism, if she thought that, "whenever there are grave Human Rights Violations, as fex. "MISSING" persons, attested even by ECHR's judgements, they should be always checked by a Monitoring process. Or could they be forgotten ?"
    
     - "We (CoE) must be, at the same time, Fair, Realistic, but not in the mind that "now we have Forgotten", etc., replied to "EuroFora"'s question Halonen, speaking as a matter of general principle.

    - "When we think of those People that are suffering from the lack of Democracy, of Human Rights, and of the Rule of Law", "we should find a base on how to deal with the (Monitoring) system more rapidly"', she stressed.

    - "Sometimes it's very difficult to combine Transparency and Effectivenes together, particularly in this specific case", she went on to say. But, "I have not found a (CoE Member) Country who could be insensitive in this sens", Halonen answered concerning grave Human Rights violations attested by the ECHR.

    - "I have no ready-made answer. I have the expectations that you, in the CoE, will, step by step, find the different types of the monitoring systems."

    Also "because this is a part of the UN's Post-Conflict system, (fex. when it comes to Cyprus' MISSING persons), and it's a more Global system". So that, "If we make a succes in Europe, the others will follow", throughout the World.  "But they expect that we (Europe) are this opportunity, this Opportunity to make a Succes", Halonen concluded.

    In addition, she advised to extend CoE's Monitoring to all its 47 Member States, "because, as long as we hear that, all these monitoring systems are "OK for the neighbor, but not for me", "it's very difficult" to understand. Something which could make easier to Compare...

    Finnish MEP Jaako Laakso, former CoE Rapporteur on the Occupied Territories of Cyprus and one of the 5 Signatories of the Historic CoE's call to create the "MONITORING" mecanism since 1996, was more specific :  - "We (CoE Assembly) have to find a way for the issue of Cyprus' MISSING People to be better followed", he stressed, anouncing his intention to "speak to Mr. Holovaty" about that. "There might be also other ways", added Laakso.

    - The 2008 "Year had been a very Bad one for Turkey with regard to Human Rights in general, and Freedom of Expression in particular", denounced, meanwhile, Holovaty's preliminary Post-Monitoringh Draft Report by Holovaty, published by the CoE on April 2009.

    "Amnesty International believes that freedom of expression is not guaranteed given the various articles of the Criminal Code that restrict it. .. "For example, 1,300 Websites are said to have been closed down by the (Turkish) authorities in 2008" ! While "the new Turkish Criminal Code was used to bring a total of 1,072 proceedings between June 2005 and April 2008, and led to the conviction of 192 people", for expressing views. "Representatives of the Özgür Gündem newspaper, which specialises in Kurdish affairs, ..complained about Numerous Attacks on their Freedom of Expression ...as was everyone who advocated a settlement to the question by means other than the intervention of the army" "According to their figures, 19 Newspapers had been suspended 43 times between 4 August 2006 and 4 November 2008" !...

    Moreover, on 2008,  CoE's "Ministers adopted its 4rth Resolution on the execution of the judgments of the ECHR, ...and outstanding issues regarding 175 Judgements and decisions relating to Turkey delivered between 1996 and 2008...  concerning Deaths resulting from the excessive use of force by members of the Security forces, the failure to protect the right to life, the DIisappearance and/or death of individuals, Ill-Treatment and the Destruction of property". CoE's " Ministers urged the Turkish authorities ...to ensure that members of Security forces of all ranks can be prosecuted without administrative
authorisation" for "serious crimes". Holovaty reminded.

"Nonetheless", Holovaty heard anew of "Several cases of Violence committed last year (2008) by the (Turkish) security forces". Amnesty International speaks of Many Cases of ill-treatment and Torture in the prisons and by the police". "Including, fex."'the death of Engin Ceber, a young man of 29 who died on October 2008 as a result of the TORTURE allegedly inflicted on him by police officers, prison staff and members of the gendarmerie. He was part of a group of people arrested on September 2008 during a demonstration and Press Conference in Istanbul'. Proceedings against suspects are "on-going" in this case.

- " I therefore noted an Obvious Contradiction between the Government’s stated “zero tolerance” policy.... of Torture and other forms of ill-treatment, and the different testimonies given", denounced CoE's Rapporteur.  Turkish "authorities must make considerable efforts to guarantee that proper investigations are carried out into allegations of abuses by members of the security forces and that perpetrators are effectively punished" "In this respect, I have requested detailed Statistics on the number of Investigations, acquittals and convictions in cases involving allegations of abuse in order to show the positive impact of the measures taken to date", Holovaty said, repeating a permanently unsatisfied CoE's demand to Turkey since a Decade...

    - "The Political Crisis that shook the country in the spring of 2008 highlighted the Weaknesses of the (Turkish) Constitution", which comes from the Military regime of 1982, "and the Urgent Need of Reforms", stressed from the outset CoE's Rapporteur in 2009. In particular, "the ...Democratic functioning of state institutions, including the independence of the judicial system, are crucial", he observes.

    But, "the Electoral  system and the ways in which it is circumvented do not appear to give those elected complete Legitimacy, and tend to pervert the course of direct universal suffrage", denounces Holovaty, observing that, even 5 Years later, Turkey did not yet change the 10% nationwide Threshold for a party to take any seat, which is "far higher" than the "3%" maximum in Europe and already condemned as contrary to European Standards by the CoE.

    + Moreover, EU Parliament's 2009 Report on Turkey, drafted by Dutch MEP Ria Oomen-Ruijten and adopted in Strasbourg on March, expresses "Concern over the Failure of the (Turkish) Judiciary to prosecute cases of Torture and Ill-treatment, the Number of which is Growing". EU also "is concerned about continuing Hostility and Violence against Minorities" in Turkey. It also "calls on the Turkish Government to launch, as a matter of Priority, a Political Initiatve favouring a lasting Settlement of the Kurdish issue, (while "condemning violence.. and terrorist groups"). EU "regrets that No progress has been made on establishing full, systematic Civilian suprevisory functions over the (Turkish) Military".

    The final results of Holovaty's 2nd and last visit to Turkley will be known later this year, and, at any case, before EU's December 2009 Summit.

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