UK activist slams ECHR double-standards on Turkey

After a recent decision by the European Court to make Turkey pay compensation for violations against Greek Cypriots, Dr. Daud Abdullah pointed out the court's failure to punish Israel for violations on the Palestinians.

UK activist slams ECHR double-standards on Turkey

World Bulletin / News Desk

Dr. Daud Abdullah, the Deputy Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, has criticized the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) for its double-standards on Turkey and Israel.

In his column for the Middle-East Monitor, Dr. Abdullah pointed out that while the ECHR fines Turkey 90 million euros for alleged human rights violations against the Greek Cypriots during its 1974 Cyprus military operation, the court continues to ignore violations carried out by Israel against the Palestinians.

Contemplating on the wider implications of the court's verdict to fine Turkey 90 million euoes last week, Dr. Abdullah wrote: "Experts believe that it could pave the way for similar punitive measures against Russia for its involvement in Crimea. That being so, there is an equally strong case against Israel for its invasion and military occupation of Arab lands in 1967."

However, highlighting the one-sidedness of the European court towards Israel in the past, Dr. Abdullah added: "Palestinian families similarly have filed cases in London against the Israeli official for her role in her country's bombardment of Gaza in December 2008 and January 2009. The usual reason given for this special exemption is that legal proceedings will jeopardise 'peace talks' with the Palestinians. For whatever reasons, the Strasbourg court made no such linkage in its ruling against Turkey."

Dr. Abdullah then pointed out that Turkey was currently leading the efforts to bring peace to Cyprus after 40 years of uneasy ceasefire between the island's native Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots. He also mentioned Turkey's efforts to mend ties with its Armenian and Kurdish communities, yet these factors are not considered when the court makes rulings regarding Turkey.

On May 12, the ECHR ordered the Turkish government to pay 30 million euros to Greek Cypriot families of missing persons while the remaining 60 million euros were ordered to be given to Greek Cypriots living in the Karpass Peninsula in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).

The Turkish Foreign Ministry, however, refused to pay the compensation, saying that the verdict did not bind Turkey in any way and that Turkey could not pay the money to the Greek Cypriot administration as it is not legally recognized by Turkey.

The decision was also slammed by the TRNC government, with Turkish Cypriot deputy prime minister Serdar Denktas calling the verdict a one-sided attempt to strengthen the Greek Cypriot position in the ongoing peace talks. He also stated his belief that the Turkish Cypriots should no longer sit at the negotiation table with the Greek Cypriots.

Ironically, the day after the verdict was given, Turkish Cypriots marked the 50th anniversary since what is locally known as the 'Lost Bus' massacre, in which Turkish Cypriot workers were kidnapped and executed by Greek Cypriot rebels at an unknown location. Their remains were found thrown down an abandoned well 43 years later.


Turkey has maintained a military presence in the island's north as a constitutional guarantor of peace after Greek extremist militant group EOKA, which sought to unite the island with Greece, conducted a coup on the government in July 1974 after having forced Turkish Cypriots to flee into enclaves to escape from years of massacres.

Failure to reunify the island led to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) declaring independence in 1983, which is today only recognized by Turkey.

A 2004 referendum saw Turkish Cypriots vote 'yes' to reunify the island, but plans failed when the vast majority of Greek Cypriots voted 'no'. Nonetheless, the Greek Cypriot controlled southern Cyprus was accepted into the EU while the TRNC remained under international embargoes.

Despite this, talks persisted until the Greek Cypriot administration took charge of the EU presidency in 2012, much to the displeasure of Turkey. The talks were then stalled for two years until February 2014 when the Greek Cypriot administration agreed to sit at the negotiation table once again after they narrowly avoided defaulting from the Eurozone due to an economic crisis.

Centered around the discovery of natural gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean seabed, the Greek Cypriot administration hopes to revive its economy by channeling a pipeline through Turkey in order to supply the European market.

Dr. Daud Abdullah doubted that the verdict and Turkey's refusal to pay the compensation would have an affect on Turkey-EU relations. "European economies are already threatened with destabilisation because of events in Ukraine. They can ill-afford, therefore, to ostracise Turkey, which is not only a major economic partner but a key member of NATO," he said.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 17 Mayıs 2014, 14:16