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WASHINGTON, D.C., May 10--Following today's ruling by the European Court of Human Rights finding Turkey guilty of "massive violations" of human rights in Cyprus, Greek-American leaders sent a letter to U.S. President George W. Bush and other key U.S. officials urging U.S. action.
"This profound ruling can be an opportunity to help NATO ally Turkey see more clearly the path it must take for EU membership. U.S. security interests, the people of Greece and Cyprus, and especially the people of Turkey will benefit from the accession to the EU of a Turkey that adheres to internationally acceptable standards of conduct with regard to human rights and international law," said the leaders of the National Coordinated Effort of Hellenes (CEH) Andrew A. Athens, Philip Christopher and Andrew E. Manatos.
"Turkey can no longer deny its problems as a result of rulings like the one rendered today. It is time for the United States to reach out to those in Turkey who want to make the changes necessary for EU accession," said these leaders.
The European Court of Human Rights, in a judgment passed by a vote of 16 to 1, ruled that Turkey, during its near 27-year illegal occupation of northern Cyprus, has violated 14 articles of the European Human Rights Convention. These violated rights included the right to life, the right to liberty and security, the right to freedom of thought and the right to freedom of expression. Turkey refused to attend hearings on this case, arguing that the so-called Turkish-Cypriot state was an independent entity. However, the European Court said today that Turkey should be held accountable for the actions of the Turkish-Cypriot authorities, stating that they "survived by virtue of Turkish military and other support."
Today's ruling also supported the claims of over 200,000 Greek-Cypriot refugees who have been deprived of their right to property, compensation and a family life. "This highlights the fact that Turkey is facing a potential financial liability of $16.8 billion. And, that amount increases by $1 billion each year," said Athens, Christopher and Manatos. These figures are calculated by extrapolating from the amount the European Court ruled that Turkey must pay Greek-Cypriot Titina Loizidou to others with legitimate property claims. The Court ruled on July 28, 1998 that the Turkey must pay Ms. Loizidou approximately $914,000 to compensate her for the violation of her human right to peacefully enjoy her possessions.
This letter to U.S. officials cited additional key parts of this ruling, including references to the Cyprus enclaved (those Greek-Cypriots that have remained in the occupied area) and the missing in Cyprus. With regard to the Cyprus enclaved the court noted that their living conditions "were debasing and violated the very notion of respect for the human dignity of its members." With regard to the missing in
Cyprus, the court ruled that by failing to investigate the fate of the over 1,500 missing, Turkey had violated their "right to life."