ISTANBUL (AP) — Europe's top human rights court in its largest ever judgment ordered Turkey on Monday to pay 90 million euros ($123 million) to Cyprus for its 1974 invasion and the island's subsequent division.
The decision from the European Court of Human Rights said the passage of time did not erase Turkey's responsibility in the case, ruling that Turkey must pay 30 million euros in damages to relatives of those missing in the operations and 60 million euros for "the enclaved Greek-Cypriot residents of the Karpas peninsula."
Hundreds of Greek Cypriots still live in the Karpas peninsula in the northernmost tip of the breakaway Turkish Cypriot part of the island.
Cyprus has been divided since Turkey invaded in 1974 after a coup by supporters of union with Greece. Only Turkey recognizes the breakaway Turkish Cypriot state that was proclaimed in the north of the island.
The judgment comes as the Turkish and Greek Cypriot communities are making a new effort to reunite the island.
Speaking ahead of the ruling on Monday, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu warned that a judgment against Turkey would come at a delicate time and said that he viewed it as "neither binding nor of any value."
"Not only is it legally problematic, its timing is wrong," Davutoglu said.
Turkey's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the decision would not detract from Turkey's "determination" to reach a settlement.
Cyprus' government spokesman Nikos Christodoulides hailed the court's decision and called on Turkey to comply immediately.
"Despite the fact that the persecution and hardship that they have endured cannot be measured in money, the Cyprus government welcomes the fact that the court again condemns in this way Turkey's policy of violating the human rights of the enclaved," he said.
The court said it would be up to the government of Cyprus to determine how to award the damages. Turkey has not always complied with the court's rulings.
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