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Greeks have the right to claim their properties in Turkey

30 September 2009 / 13:09:02  GRReporter
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One decision by the European Court will open the road for thousands of Greeks, who have lost the right over their properties in Istanbul, to get them back.

The whole story began few years ago when the Fokas brothers, Yoanis and Evangelos Fokas, decided to turn to the human rights European Court with a plead for Turkey to allow them to inherit their sister Polixeni Foka-Pistika.

As Ta Nea newspaper writes the two brothers are living in the Greek city Katerini and their sister was adopted in 1954 by Pistikas family, who were members of the Greek community in Istanbul. Because of a secret presidential bill from 1964, all properties owned by Greek citizens in Turkey, are being tied down and so Polixeni Pistika’s brothers lost their right to inherit her properties when she died two years ago - the same way that she could not inherit her parents.

Polixeni has left a lot of inheritance – two seven story buildings in one of the most famous neighborhoods in Istanbul – Taxim. At the beginning the Turkish court had decided Polixeni cannot inherit her adoptive parents, because she was not a Turkish citizen. After her death, her brothers filed a complained to be recognized as heirs but the Istanbul and Ankara courts denied the plead. As a result in March 2002 the two brothers turned to the human rights European Court.

Yesterday the case ended in favor of the Fokas brother and their lawyer Achileas Dimitriadis said for Kathemerini newspaper that this ruling is extremely important, because it gives a precedent and “many Greeks, who are not Turkish citizens and have not had the right to inherit properties, will not have the opportunity to ask for what belongs to them.”

Greek foreign minister Dora Bakoyanni says that this and other similar cases, are success for Greek foreign diplomacy. She also said that “the ruling of the human rights European Court regarding the Fokas case against Turkey is important, because it stresses on the violation of Ch.1 of the First Additional Protocol in the contract for protecting property rights.”

Yesterday’s ruling did not sentence only Turkey for violating human rights regarding the Fokas case but it also limited Turkey’s right to file an appeal, noted Ta Nea newspaper. This ruling has a significant meaning, because it is expected that in October the report for the achieved progress with Turkey will come out and on the other hand until December Turkey needs to recognize the existence of the Republic of Cyprus and to open its ports and airports for Cyprian ships and airplanes. 

Tags: European Court Human Rights News Politics Cyprus
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