Court hits Turkey with fine over missing Cypriots

21st September 2009, Comments 0 comments

The European Court of Human Rights upheld an earlier ruling that Ankara had violated the right to life of the men and women by failing to investigate their disappearance.

Strasbourg -- Turkey was Friday ordered to pay a fine over the case of nine Cypriots who disappeared during its 1974 invasion of the Mediterranean island after European judges rejected an appeal.

The European Court of Human Rights upheld an earlier ruling that Ankara had violated the right to life of the men and women by failing to investigate their disappearance.

Judges ruled "there had been a continuing violation... on account of Turkey's failure to effectively investigate the fate of the nine men who disappeared in 1974," the court said in a statement.

Seventeen judges dismissed the objections put forward by the Turkish government and ordered Ankara to pay 20,000 euros (almost 30,000 dollars) in damages and legal costs to each of the 18 applicants.

This was more than a seven-fold increase on the amount Turkey was ordered to pay at the first ruling in January last year.

The applications were made in the names of the nine missing people and nine of their relatives.

Eight of the missing were members of the Greek-Cypriot forces that fought the Turkish army, the court said.

According to witness statements, they were among prisoners of war captured by the Turkish military.

A ninth person was taken for questioning by Turkish soldiers and his body found over 20 years later covered with bullet marks, the court said.

Turkey had disputed the men were captured by the Turkish army, but the Cypriot government insisted they had gone missing in areas under Turkish control.

The court on Friday stood by its earlier ruling that Turkey had violated the missing people's right to life, as defined by the European Convention on Human Rights, in their failure to investigate the disappearances.

It also upheld the ruling that the nine relatives who had brought forward the case had been subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment, also as defined by the convention, on account of the mystery surrounding their loved ones.

The July 1974 invasion by Turkish forces -- following an attempted coup by Greek Cypriots supported by a military junta in Greece -- saw the mass displacement of ethnic Greeks and Turks in Cyprus and the creation of a Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus that is recognised only by Ankara.

The remainder of the Mediterranean island, known officially as the Republic of Cyprus, and predominantly ethnic Greek, joined the European Union in May 2004, and despite United Nations efforts, reunification has proven elusive.

AFP/Expatica

0 Comments To This Article