Europe

Cyprus invasion: Turkey rejects court order for damages

A military post marking the UN buffer zone stands in the Greek Cypriot-controlled area of central Nicosia 12/03/2014 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Greek and Turkish Cypriots have lived estranged for decades

Turkey does not intend to pay compensation to Greek Cypriots for its invasion of Cyprus in 1974, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has said.

He was responding after the European Court of Human Rights ordered Turkey to pay 90m euros (£73m; $123m) in damages.

The court said this was for losses endured during the invasion and subsequent partition of the island.

Turkey invaded the north in response to a military coup on the island which was backed by the government of Greece.

Since then, the northern third has been mainly inhabited by Turkish Cypriots and the southern two-thirds by Greek Cypriots.

Turkey still has about 30,000 troops stationed on the island, and it is the only country that recognises northern Cyprus as a separate entity.

The UN still maintains a peacekeeping force on the island.

'Not necessary'

Foreign Minister Davutoglu said Turkey did not "consider the decision to be binding because of the grounds it is based on, its method and the fact that it takes into consideration a country that Turkey does not recognise.

"We don't consider it necessary to make this payment.''

The Cypriot government has welcomed Monday's ruling by Europe's top human rights court.

The court found that despite the passage of time, Turkey was still liable for damages and should:

  • Pay 30m euros for the suffering endured by relatives of the nearly 1,500 people who had gone missing during the invasion
  • Pay 60m euros to the Greek-Cypriot residents of the Karpas peninsula, an enclave within northern Cyprus.

UN peacekeeping forces estimate that 165,000 Greek Cypriots fled or were expelled from the north, and 45,000 Turkish Cypriots from the south, although the parties to the conflict say the figures are higher.

Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders are engaged in a new round of talks aimed at reconciling differences and reuniting the island.

Mr Davutoglu also said the ruling by Europe's top court of human rights had "dealt the biggest blow to the process for a comprehensive solution".

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