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Home arrow newsitems arrow CoE: Turkey Repeat-Offender in DisRespect of ECHR Judgements on Cyprus' Refugees + Missing People

CoE: Turkey Repeat-Offender in DisRespect of ECHR Judgements on Cyprus' Refugees + Missing People

Written by ACM
Donnerstag, 06 Dezember 2018
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*Strasbourg/Angelo Marcopolo/- For the 2nd Time in an Exceptional Row, CoE's Highest Political body, that of its 47 Member States' strong (including Russia) Committee of Ministers, slamed anew Turkey's Persisting Refusal to Cooperate on monitoring the execution of ECHR Judgements, which have notoriously Condemned Ankara for a series of Massive and Continuing Violations of Human Rights of Greek-Cypriot Refugees/Displaced persons and even "Missing" People and their Families, since the 1974 Military Invasion and Occupation of the Northern Part of EU Member Cyprus, (See, already : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/turkeuyrefusescooperationwithcoe.html + http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/eucoereactonturkeyrefusaltocooperate.html , etc).


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    Turkey not only Refused to Participate in CoE's relevant Discussions (Extending now on December 2018 the Negative Stance that it Adopted since last September), and did Not Cooperate with its Committee of Ministers in its Task to supervise ECHR's Judgments' Execution, but even Persisted to its Long Abstention from Paying the Just Satisfaction awarded by the European Court to the Victims, in more than 30 Cases of Greek Cypriot Refugees/Displaced Persons, and in the landmark "Varnavas" Case of 9 "Missing" People, (at least 2 of whom had been found "Detained at the Time of their Disappearance", as CoE reminded), as well as on the cases of Homes and other private Properties of "Enclaved" Greek Cypriots inside the Occupied Territories Controlled by Ankara's Army, who are included in the overall, Inter-State Case of "Cyprus v. Turkey" (which concerns almost All Violations of Human Rights committed by Ankara in Cyprus).

    => According to the Officially Published CoE's Decisions, the PanEuropean Organisation for Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law, expressed its "Deep Regret" anew for "the decision of Turkey Not to Participate in the Discussions" of CoE's Committee of Ministers on all these affairs, 'and called, once again, on Turkey to Co‑operate with the Committee", while Also "Insist(ing) again Firmly on the ...Obligation of Turkey to Pay the just satisfaction Awarded by the European Court" in those cases, "withOut further Delay".


    + For that purpose, CoE also Decided "to Resume Consideration" on the issues of Greek Cypriot "Missing" Persons (Both on Compensations and Investigations for their Fate), and Refugees/Displaced persons (Compensations), the Earliest possible :  I.e. at its Next Meeting for Human Rights, on "March 2019".


    This will be Closely Followed by CoE's Examination of "Individual Measures" that Turkey has to take in the 33 Cases of GC Refugees/Displaced persons, as well as on the "Information" that "certain (COE Member States' National) Delegations requested" concerning "the Situation of the ... Property" of the Refugee/Displaced person in "Loizidou case" (that Turkey curiously seeks to ..."Close", withOut even Replying to Questions ! See Infra), on "June 2019".


    Further, "the Issue of the Property Rights of the Enclaved persons", in the Inter-State case "Cyprus v. Turkey"), will be resumed on "September 2019".


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    Significantly, this important Meeting, which durated during 3 Days  (November 4 to 6, 2018) , was Chaired by French Ambassador Jean-Baptiste  Mattei, (according to an established practice), just a few Months before France takes over CoE's rotating Presidency, from May to November 2019.


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    Cyprus Denounced the fact that, at least in the well-known Refugee/Displaced persons' "Case of Xenides-Arestis", "almost 12 Years (sic !) have Elapsed since Just Satisfaction fell Due", i.e. Turkey's Refusal to Pay the Compensation judged by ECHR, resulted in "the Longest Default in the History of the (European) Convention system" !...


    + Moreover, Cypus had "Urged" the CoE to "Resist" to Turkey's "Blackmail", which is notoriously Seeking mainly a ..."Closure" of the Most Famous, "Loizidou" case, among Refugees/Displaced persons(added even to 2 Other such cases), Threatening, Otherwise, to Persist even Longer in its Refusal to Participate at CoE's Deliberations in all those other affairs (Comp. Supra). But, such "Closure(s)", Paradoxicaly, ..."would Reward Turkey for its Non-Payment, and, in particular, for its Non-Cooperaton with (CoE's) Committee" of Ministers, and "it would be utterly Wrong to End (CoE's) Supervision, in circumstances where Turkey Seeks to make Closure a Condition for its future Cooperation".


   Simply Because,


-  in Addition to the Fact that there are still Many pertinent UnAnswered "Question"s in this Case (Loizidou, etc), some Already Raised also by Other National Delegations, (See Infra),


+ + "FurtherMore",,Otherwise, a "Closure" of the remaining Loizidou affair and/or Other 2 Cases singled out by Ankara, "would send a most Unfortunate Signal to any Other State that might, in Future, contemplate embarking upon a Similar Policy of Non-Cooperation, in order to Pressurise the (CoE's) Committee into Favouring its point of view", so that "Undermining the work of (CoE's) Committee" Risks  to become "a Practice that is Tolerated, and, in fact, bears fruit", Cyprus Warned.


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    As for the still UnAnswered Questions in the Landmark "Loizidou" case, they are related with the most Fundamental Human Rights' Key-Issue in Refugees/Displaced persons cases, both in Europe and Worldwide :


    - That for "RESTITUTION" of the Victims' Family Homes and/or other Private Properties, as Preferable to mere Financial Compensation, since it Helps much More (and Often is really Necessary, in Practice) for their voluntary RETURN to their Ancestral Land, (as it's Stressed even by UNO's most Important Report and Guiding "Principles", drafted by Professor Pinheiro, and Endorsed by UNHCR, UNHCHR and UNO's Secretary General, at nearby Geneva : Comp., f.ex.  ...). Cyprus' Government also finds these Questions "Vitally Important".


    Indeed, Turkey Refused any "Restitution" of Miss Loizidou's properties (as for Most Other Greek Cypriot Refugees/Displaced persons) in the Occupied Territories of Cyprus, controlled by Ankara's Military, by Claiming that this would have become "ImPossible", mainly because they would have been "Transferred" to so-called "Turkish Cypriot Refugees", (in fact, People who had freely Left the Non-Occupied, but Government-controlled, Areas, leaving their belongings "by way of Exchange"), and, Afterwards, her Properties would have undergone so "considerable Changes", that these would "Prevent the ....Restitution", (Even ... "After the Solution of Cyprus' [Political] Problem" !)... Thus, Turkey reportedly offered to the Greek Cypriot Refugee/IDP, Only a mere Financial Compensation, which, in addition, appeared too much Lower than what had been previously attributed by ECHR (See Infra)...


    => But, this Raised a series of Questions, which have Not yet been Answered by the Turkish side, as Cyprus observed :


    (1) Where is the EVIDENCE that those alleged Turkish Cypriots would have left the Government-controlled Areas, leaving behind their Belongings for exchange, and to whom would have been Transferred the properties of Greek Cypriot Refugee Loizidou, in the Territories of Cyprus still Occupied by Ankara's Militay ? No Reply yet...


    (2) WHEN were reportedly Transferred to those Turkish Cypriots the above-mentioned Properties of that Greek Cypriot Refugee/IDP ? Before, or After ECHR's JUDGEMENT of 1996, which, notoriously, "Confirmed" that she Remained the Lawful Owner ?


    (3) Which are the alleged "CHANGES" that Turkey Claims on the Greek Cypriot Refugee/IDP's properties ? On the Contrary, at least "Some of that Property" seems to be "EMPTY and UnDeveloped", therefore, "so, in principle, Available for Restitution", Cyprus observed...


    (4) Why was the Turkish Offer (for Finanial Compensation) so LOW ? Cyprus calculated, indeed, that they would have "Valued the use of the Property at barely HALF the rate awarded by the ECHR" for a previous period...


+ Moreover, Significantly,  the Chair of a Controversial "Immovable Property Commission" unilaterally set up by the Turkish side in the Occupied Territories of Cyprus, controlled by Ankara's Invasion and Occupation Military, claiming to give there a Monopoly in Dealing with Greek Cypriot Refugees/Displaced persons' Rights, Quoted in a Press Article ("Diyalog", 24/3/2018), has reportedly stated that, inter alia, also that "....the More LAND is TURKIFIED, the Right of the Greek Cypriot side to demand Land in the North will be Abolished" (sic !)...

=> In Consequence, it "would be Manifestly UnJust" to "Close the Case", while "Turkey is (still) under an Obligation to provide Answers to these Questions, so that the (CoE's) Committee may be in a position to take a fully Informed Decision on that matter", instead of "resolv(ing) those UnCertainties withOut Evidence", Cyprus concluded.


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On the Contrary, it's Only in 2 Other Cases, among those 33 ECHR Judgements still Pending for Execution, in various Individual Affairs of Refugees/Displaced persons, that "Friendly Agreements" were reached between the Appliquants and Turkey, after the First "Surrendered ...the Ownership of their Properties", and "Turkey has Complied with the terms of those Arrangements", the Government of Cyprus pointed out, apparently Concluding that these 2 Individual cases, may be, Exceptionally, Closed.


Something which, Obviously, isn't but a Tiny part among More than +180.000 - 200.000  Greek Cypriot Refugees/Displaced persons, who were Obliged to Flee Turkey's Military Invasion and Ocupation of the Northern Territories of Cyprus by Ankara's Army since 1974, and are Still Hindered Today to Return Back to Family Homes and Ancestral Land.

A Few Years Ago, around 2016, UN-sponsored Top Level Talks on Cyprus, mainly at nearby Switzerland, reportedly had managed to Mark an exceptional Advance, including, partiçularly, on an eventual Draft Plan with Map for Refugees/Displaced persons' possible Return, which was, exchanged for the 1st Time between the parties.


But, shortly Afterwards, all that was Blocked mainly because Ankara's Instisted to Keep, not only a Number of Troops in Cyprus, even After a Political Solution, but even a Claim for more Unilateral Military Interventions, whenever, in the Future, Turkey might deem necessary.

(Something that, on the Contrary, Both Greece and the UK, accepted to Stop, as Cyprus naturally wished to Prevent Other Tragedies, as in the Past, by Building, this Time, a "Normal, Independent and Sovereign State", that New UNO Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, reportedly found Natural).


Following that, Later-on, the Turkish-Cypriot side even, reportedly, Asked and Withdrew the Map that had been Earlier exchanged and agreed, (Comp. Supra)...


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Meanwhile, this week, Both COE's Secretariat and Cyprus' Government, reminded the Fact that, Already 4 Years Ago, since 2014, CoE's Committee of Ministers, (facing Turkey's Failure to Pay, at least, the Compensations awarded by ECHR's Judgements to several Greek Cypriot Refugees/Displaced persons), had adopted 2 Resolutions Warning Ankara that its Continued Refusal to Pay that Just Satisfaction awarded by ECHR to the Victims of the "Varnavas" Case ("Missing" Persons and their Families), as well as to 33 Cases of Refugees/Displaced persons in the so-called "Xenides -Arestis Group", was in Flagrand Conflict with its International Obligaions, Not Only as a Contracting Party to the PanEuropean Conention on Human Rights, but Also as a CoE's Member State...


=> Obviously, the Double Supplementary Fact that such a Problem (of Refusal to Pay ECHR-awarded Compensations to the Victims) still Persists for Turkey, even on 2018, to which was Recently Added even an UnPrecedented Refusal to Cooperate with CoE for the Execution of ECHR's Judgements, (Comp. Supra), makes Ankara's position inside the CoE, even More Problematic...

It's in such a particularly "Hot" Context, f.ex. that an Exasperated Appliquant Refugee/IDP, who had already Waited ... 13 Years (between 1997 and 2010) for an ECHR Judgement Condemning Turkey for Violating his Human Rights, later Added to anOther + 8 Years More (2010 - 2018+), withOut any Payment, until now, by Ankara of the Just Satisfaction ordered by the ECHR, (=> thus Resulting in ... 21 Years of Delay : 1997 - 2018 !), suddenly erupted :


- CoE's Committee of Ministers  should "Go Beyond Literary Decisions, that are Repeatedly Ignored" by Turkey,  "and take Practical Measures to EnForce and achieve Execution of the ... ECtHR Judgement", he suggested in a Letter send to Strasbourg :


=> "To this end", f.ex., CoE should "Issue a Final Warning" to Turkey, "to Immediately Execute the Judgement on Just Satisfaction, (issued 8 Years Ago), since Failure to Execute the Judgement would indicate that :


"1. Turkey Continuously Breaches, and does Not fully Implement the European Convention on Human Rights, and, Consequently, does Not Meet anymore the Copenhagen eligibility Criteria (needed in order) to Be Candidate for Accession to the EU",


"2. there is ground for a process for Expulsion of Turkey from the CoE, due to Violating its Statutes".


+° Also, if" Turkey "Fails Again to Implement the Judgment", CoE's "Committee of Ministers" could "Initiate a Process leading into Confiscating Assets/Holdings" of Ankara "in a European Country; ( e.g. France, where both ECtHR and CoE are Based), for Payment of the above", he finally suggested...


It's a Scandalous Fact that, meanwhile, several Victims of Human Rights' Violations by Turkey in Cyprus have already Started to ...Die, Passing Away in Old Age, while vainly Waitibng for Ankara to Implement ECHR's Judgements, (See, f.ex.: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/turkeyblocksechrjudgementswhilevictimsdie.html, etc).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Former long-time President of ECHR, Luzius Wildhaber, from Switzerland, was the 1st to ask sincere "Excuses", for the Death of an Old Woman Refugee, who disappeared withOut even seeing an ECHR Judgement implemented in her case, after Waiting for Decades : - "This is Not Normal, and Must Not Happen again !", President Wildhaber had said then, sincerely moved, in Reply to a Question by "Eurofora"s co-Founder, (Published then at "TCWeekly").

 

(../..)


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  Ten Years of ECHR : 1998 - 2008 show need of Revival in 2009-2010 coinciding with 2009 EU Election
   

A threefold, coordinated move by new Top French Political actors in the 2009 EU Parliament Elections, expressed in Strasbourg a will to boost Europe's Political dimension close to Citizens' concerns, going from protection of Economy to defence of Human Rights.    

The move met an exceptional ECHR's call for a "revival" of Human Rights' protection mechanism', in a Mega-Conference, early 2010.   

Obviously focusing on June 2009 Elections to EU Parliament, it involved from the outset the recently nominated "dual" Head of French Governing Party (UMP)  Michel BARNIER and Rachida DATI :

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     - "As President Sarkozy has clearly said, we (France) are in favor of a Strong, Sovereign and Independent, Political Europe, which protects its Citizens, and not for a large Super-Market, nor for a Europe under influence",

    "This goes for everything, including Energy", added to "EuroFora" the experienced former EU Commissioner, Minister of Foreign affairs, currently of Agriculture and Sarkozy's new pick as Leader of the Governing party UMP to EU 2009 Election, Michel BARNIER                                              .                             

  - Human Rights are important because they are at the Heart of the Political Europe that we aspire for : I.e. a Europe able to act and protect its Citizens, stressed also the New French Minister for European affairs, Bruno LE MAIRE, while meeting Strasbourg's Journalists at his first visit to the CoE.   

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This is one of the main interests for CoE, which is also a natural place for cooperation between EU countries and Russia or Turkey, which was recently helpful at the Middle East crisis, he added.

The move gained momentum with French Minister of Justice, Rachida Dati's main observations at ECHR's 5Oth Anniversary :   

- "While we are seeking Europe's Borders and Identity, you (ECHR) remind us also of its Values", Human Rights, Dati noted.   

Citizens seek more and more often ECHR's help, and the tempo accelerates, Europa awaits a symbol, while national legal orders are not freezed   

And she expressed "support" to ECHR President Jean-Paul Costa's call to satisfy the vital need to revigorate the PanEuropean Court by deciding big changes at a High-Level Conference open to a large audience, a kind of "Etats Generaux" of Human Rights, at the beginning of 2010.       

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It's not so much the recently growing number of applications for Russia or Ukraine etc, which seems to be Costa's main concern : In fact, the cases declared "admissible" are much fewer...    

But rather the persistent violations of Human Rights, sometimes very grave (ie. murders, torture, abritrary deprivation of liberty, oppression of freedom of speech, destructions of homes/properties, etc), despite numerous, repeated condemnations by ECHR. So that CoE's Ministers, due to "supervise execution" of ECHR's judgements, are overloaded.   

F.ex. most Media noted that Turkey still remains, even in 2008, the 1st among 47 CoE member States in the number of condemnations by ECHR :  257, compared to 233 for Russia, with a population more than the double..    

The problem is that it's not the 1st time at all : During all the last Decade 1998-2008, Turkey was condemned by ECHR much more than any other State, and for particularly grave violations :   

- 1.652 condemnations, compared to 605 for Russia, 548 for Poland, 494 for France, 476 for Ukraine, etc.   

Italy's second place with 1.394 condemnations is a misleading false appearance : In fact, most of them (999) concern mere "procedural delays" in national courts. Same for France.   

On the contrary, Turkey was condemned 180 times for Killings, 192 times for Torture or Inhuman/Degrading treatments, 340 times for arbitrary deprivation of Liberty, 528 times for "Unfair trial", and 169 times for oppression of Freedom of speech, (etc). And the latest, 2008 numbers, indicate no change in this trend, (See supra).   

The current Spanish CoE Presidency (November 2008 - May 2009) has made of the implementation of ECHR's judgements its 1st Priority.   

ECHR's President, Jean-Paul Costa, stressed in its 2009 Annual Press Conference, CoE Member States' obligation to implement the judgements, according to Article 46 of the European Convention on Human Rights.   

Moreover, if CoE's Committee of Ministers delays to ensure implementation, then, the repetition of violations in similar cases provokes a multiplication of complaints tabled to the Court, which overload the mecanism for the protection of Human Rights, denounced Costa.          

A series of Debates on "the situation of Human Rights in Europe", focusing on the "need to fight against Impunity" of perpetrators of grave crimes, is  currently prepared by CoE's Parliamentary Assembly for the session of June 2009.  

The final Timing comes shortly AFTER the EU Elections, but the main Reports should have been adopted before.

Meanwhile, French President Sarkozy and German Chancelor Merkel's recent call "for a Political Europe" in 2009 EU Elections (See earlier "correspondence from Paris, Elysee Palace), seems more and more endorsed also by other EU Countries' Top MEPs :

Thus, f.ex., EU Parliament's 1st vice-President, Greek MEP Mrs Rodi KRATSA, speaking to "EuroFora", agreed that 2009 EU Election would be a "naturally good" opportunity to debate what really interests EU Citizens : "The Future of a Political Europe, able to face the Economic Crisis, with a Culture and identity which attracts the People"

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(Photo taken earlier during Sarkozy's 1st visit at EU Parliament, in 2007 : Sarkozy and Merkel's Ideas for a Political Europe inspire also other EU politicians accross the continent)..
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