19 February 2014 09:26

Chapter 23 of the judiciary and fundamental rights in Turkey's EU accession bid should remain blocked until Ankara ends its persistent disregard of European Court of Human Rights judgements.
This is what Nicosia human rights lawyer Achilleas Demetriades recommended in a letter sent to the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers that will meet on March 4-6 to also discuss Cyprus v Turkey cases whose judgments remain pending.
Under the microscope will come issues of missing persons such as the humanitarian case of Varnava and Others v Turkey. As well as restrictions on the property rights of Greek Cypriots displaced or living permanently in the northern part of Cyprus. "Turkey is in the process of negotiating its membership of the European Union whose Member States make up a majority of the Committee," Demetriades pointed out in the letter dated February 12.
"Given the persistent and silent disregard by Turkey of the Court's judgments it would, perhaps, be helpful if the Committee were to consider and recommend the continuations of the blocking of Chapter 23, until the abovementioned judgements have been enforced," he added.
Demetriades also said that in the EU 2013 progress report on Turkey reference is made to the Varnava and Others v Turkey case.
It stated: "The EU has called on Turkey to enhance its efforts to implement all the judgements of the European Court of Human Rights".
Applications relating to missing persons from the Turkish invasion of 1974 were filed more than 24 years ago. And, despite the ECHR's unconditional judgement, these cases are still without a remedy.
As for the total of 12 property cases relating to damages for loss of use of properties which are still under Turkey's control, these were filed more than 24 years ago and relate to amounts in excess of €30 million.
"Consequently, the Applicants are still without a remedy, despite the Court's unconditional judgements," Demetriades noted.


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