LOIZIDOU v. TURKEY
EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS
|The Court recalled the dismissal in its Judgement in March 1995, of
various preliminary objections raised by the Turkish Government and referred
to the facts surrounding the case and in particular to the ownership of
land by the Applicant, the presence of the Turkish armed forces in Cyprus
and their structure, the international response to the establishment of
the "TRNC", the Turkish declaration of 22 January 1990 in relation
to the Compulsory jurisdiction of the Court (Article 46) and the proceedings
before the Commission.
The Court found that its jurisdiction only extends to the Applicant's continuing violation of her property rights subsequent to 22 January 1990.
It took note of the international practice and resolutions of the International Community that does not regard the "TRNC" as a state under international law and that the Republic of Cyprus has remained the sole legitimate Government of Cyprus. It therefore did not attribute legal validity, for the purposes of the Convention, to certain Articles of the "TRNC" constitution upon which the Turkish Government had relied as a defence.
In view of the above the Applicant was not deemed to have lost title to her property and thus should be allowed to resume free use of her possessions since she is still regarded as the legal owner of that land.
The Court noted that the Turkish Government had acknowledged that the Applicant's loss of control of her property stems from the control of the northern part of Cyprus by Turkish troops and the establishment of the "TRNC" and further the Turkish Government had also admitted that the Applicant had on several occasions been prevented by Turkish troops from gaining access to her property.
Furthermore, it was obvious from the large number of troops involved in active duties in northern Cyprus that the Turkish army exercises effective overall control over that part of the island. Such control, in the circumstances of this case, entails Turkish responsibility for the policies and actions of the "TRNC".
Consequently, the Turkish obligation to secure the rights and freedoms set out in the Convention extends to the northern part of Cyprus and this obligation is derived by virtue of such control, whether same is exercised directly, through Turkish armed forces or through a subordinate local administration.
The Court found that the international community considers that the Republic of Cyprus is the sole legitimate Government of the island and has consistently refused to accept the legitimacy of the "TRNC" as a state within the meaning of international law. Furthermore, the continuous denial of the Applicant's access to her property in Kyrenia in northern Cyprus and the ensuing loss of all control over her property was imputable to Turkey and the Applicant, for purposes of Article 1 of Protocol 1, must be regarded to have remained the legal owner of her land.
Neither the doctrine of necessity nor the intercommunal talks could provide a justification for the interference by Turkey with the Applicant's property.
In view of the above the Court found by 11 votes to 6 that the Applicant's rights to peaceful enjoyment of her possessions under Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 have continuously been violated. With respect to Article 8 and given that the Applicant was living in Nicosia in 1974 and was only in the process of constructing a home for herself in Kyrenia, no violation was found.
Finally, the Court directed that within the next 6 months the Applicant and the Turkish Government submit written observations with respect to the issue of compensation and costs.