The Ledra Street crossing has opened once more after 'police' of the Turkish occupation regime withdrew from the neutral zone and the Cyprus government received assurances from the UN that such violations would not take place again. Newspapers in Cyprus this morning reported that the Turkish Cypriot 'police' were acting under instructions from the Turkish occupation army and not from the Turkish Cypriot political leadership. This is plausible; and we should expect to see more of this nonsense from the Turkish pashas in the next few months as they seek to undermine attempts to reunify the island. (Report in Greek, here).
Also worth mentioning is a judgment in the Nicosia courts yesterday in which Vasiliki Zechiris, a refugee from the Turkish-occupied village of Karmi in the Kyrenia district, was awarded damages of 194,000 euros against the British couple, Barbara and Bruce Weedon, who have been living on her property since 1999. (Report in Greek, here).
Since the Turkish authorities eased crossing restrictions into the occupied areas in 2003, Mrs Zechiris attempted on three occasions to visit her property in Karmi but on each occasion she was met with a volley of abuse and invective from the Britons who refused Mrs Zechiris access to her home, threatening her, telling her to leave and declaring to her that 'this is Turkey'.
The judge decided that the Britons were illegally occupying and exploiting Mrs Zechiris' property. 'The defendants', the judge said, 'completely ignored the human rights of the appellant to her property. With their behaviour they caused her enormous distress, pain and grief, negatively impacting her way of life and inducing in her a sense of injustice. While Mrs Zechiris and her family live today as refugees in poverty in the free areas of Cyprus, the defendants enjoy illegally the fruits of her labour.'
The British couple refused to attend the hearing in Nicosia and Mrs Zechiris’ lawyers will now apply to the British courts for the judgment to be executed, as happened in the case of Linda and David Orams, another British couple found guilty by the Cypriot courts of illegal possession and exploitation of Greek refugee property in Kyrenia. This case is now before the European courts.