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Dec 01 2018

Greek Cyprus urges CoE to take stand on Turkish ‘blackmail’ in property case

Greek Cyprus has urged the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to resist what it says is ‘’blackmail on behalf of Turkey”  in a case concerning Greek Cypriot property in the north, Cyprus Mail newspaper reported.

Turkey is seeking to exert pressure on the Committee to close the supervision of the Loizidou case, involving a Greek Cypriot applicant seeking to enforce a 1996 Court judgment for the restitution and enjoyment of her property in Turkish-occupied Kyrenia, as a prerequisite for its future cooperation with the human rights organisation, the newspaper noted. 

 The Greek Cypriot administration has submitted to a memorandum on the matter ahead of a Committee of Ministers meeting in Strasbourg set to take place next week, it said.

Cyprus is split between the Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus following Turkey’s invasion of 1974. Turkey does not diplomatically recognise the Republic of Cyprus in the southern part of the island and is the only country to recognise the Turkish Cypriot republic.

Turkey, citing the the immovable property commission (IPC) operating in the north, has maintained that it is not possible to restore Loizidou’s property and it can only exchange it or receive compensation for it, the Cyprus Mail said.

Nicosia, for its part, has said, “it is the Committee, not the IPC, that has the responsibility of supervising the execution of judgments of the Court,” noting, “For Loizidou to be closed under the current circumstances would reward Turkey for its non-payment and, in particular, for its non-cooperation with the Committee.”

The Greek Cypriot administration has said Turkey is under an obligation to provide answers to a series of questions - such as the time the property was transferred to new users, evidence that users are Turkish Cypriots or the development status of the property - allowing for the Council of Europe Committee to take decisions.

Meanwhile, Exxon-Mobil Vice President Tristan Asprey has said that the American energy giant and its partner, Qatar Petroleum, are pushing ahead with the drilling in plot 10 of Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone, amid rising tensions between Turkey and Greek Cyprus over exploration in the gas-rich Eastern Mediterranean, Greek newspaper Kathimerini reported.

He added that plot 10, where the U.S. giant Exxon is drilling, is outside the area being disputed by Turkey, the newspaper highlighted.

Turkey says a breakaway Turkish-Cypriot enclave in the north of the island, which is only recognised by Ankara, has a right to a share in the reserves, while the Cypriot government says any proceeds from gas drilling will be shared fairly after a peace deal is established.

Turkey, has not claimed Block 10 until now, however, Ankara has reportedly argued that a section of Block 10 is located in an area where Turkish Cypriots also have rights.