Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman cited a most unusual source Monday in arguing against the evacuation of the Ulpana outpost in Beit El: The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
Liberman, speaking to an accountants' conference in Eilat, said he asked his ministry's legal department for an opinion on the relevancy of a 2010 court case that dealt with the restitution of property left behind by Greek Cypriots who fled the north when the Turks invaded the island in 1974.
In what Liberman characterized as a "riveting" decision, the court wrote that, "Some thirty-five years have elapsed since the applicants lost possession of their property in northern Cyprus in 1974. Generations have passed. The local population has not remained static. Turkish Cypriots who inhabited the north have migrated elsewhere; Turkish-Cypriot refugees from the south have settled in the north; Turkish settlers from Turkey have arrived in large numbers and established their homes. Much Greek-Cypriot property has changed hands at least once, whether by sale, donation or inheritance."
A University of Denver blog on international relations summarizing the verdict said the court found that since the offending party, in this case Turkey, had "established a fair and equitable means of compensating refugees for their properties then they [the Greek Cypriots] must avail themselves of the remedies provided – no matter how odious dealing with the authorities of the area which is occupied may be to them."
"I think that this verdict by the European court is very relevant for us," Liberman said, adding that in the Ulpana case the people went to live there in good faith, believing – because they received state mortgages to build on land parceled out by the state - that there was no problem with the land's ownership.
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