The green line : 40 years of division in Cyprus: the issue of displaced persons’ property related rights
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In Cyprus, the ethnic conflict between Greek and Turkish Cypriots has a long history. Especially, during the clashes in 1963/64 and the Greek coup d’état and the subsequent Turkish invasion in 1974, more than 220,000 Cypriots (half of the Turkish Cypriots and one quarter of the Greek Cypriots) had been internally displaced. After Turkey occupied northern Cyprus, Greek Cypriots were transferred from the north to the south and Turkish Cypriots from the south to the north. This transfer of populations led to the creation of ethnically homogenised zones, divided by the so-called “green line”. The way the Turkish Cypriots leadership dealt with the abandoned Greek Cypriot properties in the north resulted in a multitude of Greek Cypriot applications - all claiming a violation of their right to property and home under the Convention - before the ECtHR. The issue of displaced persons’ right to return to their homes and properties is one of the most complicated issues in elaborating a settlement agreement for the conflict in Cyprus. Until today, more than 50 years after the first UN peacekeeping mission was placed in Cyprus, 47 years of peace talks and more than 40 years of division of the island, the Cyprus conflict has still not been solved.