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Turkish Cypriot settles their property case amicably

ECHR Court Room

Whilst the anger at the way the Orams case was settled was still fresh, news that a TRNC citizen had reached an amicable settlement with the Greek Cypriot government showed how such cases could be settled in the future.

Turkish Cypriot Nezire Sofi had filed her complaint with the European Court of Human Rights in 2004. A public hearing scheduled to be held in the court on January 28th this year was cancelled after an out of court settlement led to an offer of €500,000 for Sofi’s two houses and two plots of land in Larnaca.

What was even more important was that the GC government, for the first time, pledged to make amendments to their legislation currently preventing TCs from claiming their rights to property in the south. They admitted that the existing legislation was not in compliance with human rights laws.

Zaim Necatigil, Sofi’s lawyer, said that he expected the amicable settlement to set a precedent for complaints in the future. The amendment to GC law will become final if the European court endorses it as being in compliance with human rights. This would mean it would then become much easier for TCs to claim their property rights, and would dramatically slash the time it would take in the future.

With this easing of the procedures it could mean that there would be a flood of TCs using the courts to either claim their property back in the south or to accept compensation. There could even be a possibility of an Orams type case in the south if a rich TC decided that they would refuse compensation and instead evict a GC and force them to pay legal fees and demolish their home.

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