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CoE sanctions can make Turkey abide by rulings, says Greek FM

27 May, 2014

The Council of Europe has mechanisms in place which may even impose sanctions on Turkey if it does not abide by the recent European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruling on Cyprus, Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs Evangelos Venizelos said on Wednesday.
Venizelos highlighted at the same time the fact that Greece is kept fully informed of developments as regards the Cyprus issue, adding that he will be meeting with Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides on Friday on the sidelines of an informal EU General Affairs Council, in Athens to review matters as they currently stand.
He clarified that that the government of Cyprus is in charge of how to proceed, noting at the same time that Greece closely follows and analyses developments and that it has clear criteria in mind which the Cyprus government is well aware off.
Replying to a CNA question on Ankara’s denial to abide by a recent ECHR ruling on Cyprus, which imposed a fine οf 90 mln euros for the violation of human rights during and after Turkey’s invasion of the island in 1974, Venizelos said that when a country does not abide by a ECHR ruling there are mechanisms that can be put in motion, via the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe and that there can be sanctions.
He noted that that there is a correlation with a matter regarding Bosnia - Herzegovina discussed at EU level as regards the non compliance to a ruling of the ECHR, which is of a lesser significance because it is the result of a personal appeal rather than as in the case of Cyprus, a country appeal, something which is “very rare and very important”.
The ECHR decision is a historic one, he said because it has ruled for damages on inter-state application.
Unfortunately, he added, Turkey’s denial to recognise the Republic of Cyprus is an old one. He recalled however that the Republic of Cyprus is an EU member state while Turkey is a candidate EU member state, which takes seriously its European perspective.
At the same time, he continued, Turkey also considers its cooperation with the European Defence Organisation an important one and all the processes and institutions related to the Common Security and Defence Policy. All the above, he said, mean that it must cooperate with the European Union of 28 member states.
He expressed the point of view that the stern institutional framework in place will force Turkey to change its stance and to cooperate.