Turkey has 6 days to pay Loizidou

BRUSSELS (AP) – The Council of Europe yesterday gave Turkey one more week in which to comply with a court ruling ordering it to pay 680,000 euros in damages to a Greek-Cypriot woman for depriving her of access to her property following the 1974 invasion of Cyprus. «The obligation to comply with the court’s judgments is unconditional,» said a statement released in Strasbourg by the 45-member organization. Council officials said Turkey could face sanctions if it failed to meet the November 19 deadline, but declined to give more details. [Alternate Foreign Minister Tassos Yiannitsis expressed satisfaction with the decision by the Council of Ministers of the Council of Europe. «I believe (yesterday’s) decision conveys, in the best possible fashion, the respect shown by Council of Europe members for this lofty institution,» he said. «I would like to believe that Turkey will implement the court’s ruling.»] The council upholds decisions of the European Court of Human Rights, which ruled in 1998 in favor of Titina Loizidou’s property claim. After repeated demands by the Council of Europe, Turkey said in June it would pay Loizidou. However, the organization said yesterday it was «deeply deploring the fact that Turkey did not honor its undertaking and has still not complied with its obligation.» Turkey fears the case will serve as a legal precedent for some 3,000 similar claims from Greek Cypriots pending before the European court. The Cypriot government has warned it will seek Turkey’s expulsion from the Council of Europe if it fails to comply with the ruling. Greece has warned non-payment will damage Turkey’s hopes of opening membership negotiations with the European Union.