Human rights lawyer Achilleas Demetriades called on European Union leaders not to even consider opening chapter 23 in Turkey’s accession process unless it abides by European Court of Human Rights judgements.
He was responding to statements by Danish Prime minister Helle Thoring –Schmidt who stopped over in Cyprus earlier in the week and met with President Anastasiades.
“I heard the Danish Prime Minister saying that they are hoping they could open chapters 23 and 24 and that this was one of the reasons that they are so interested in what is happening in Cyprus,” Demetriades told The Cyprus Weekly.
“I suggest that Chapter 23 of the judiciary and fundamental rights, at least, should not open until Turkey stops disregarding so blatantly the Court’s judgements,” he added.
Demetriades has already sent a letter to the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers who are meeting on March 4-6 to also discuss Cyprus v Turkey cases where judgments remain pending.
Under the microscope will come issues of missing persons such as the case of Varnava and Others v Turkey. As well as restrictions on the property rights of Greek Cypriots displaced or living permanently in the occupied north.
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 they relate to amounts in excess of €30 million.
Demetriades has argued that in the EU 2013 progress report on Turkey reference was made to the Varnava and Others v Turkey case.
“The EU called on Turkey to enhance its efforts to implement all the judgements of the European Court of Human Rights. Consequently, the Applicants are still without a remedy,” he said.
Stalled UN-brokered Cyprus peace talks resumed on February 11 aiming to reunited the island. The international community, has warmly welcomed the breakthrough.
An overall settlement in Cyprus would boost Turkey’s efforts to join the European bloc. Chapters 23 and 24 are currently unilaterally frozen by Cyprus.