Turkey has no plans to pay $124m to Cyprus as ordered by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), Ahmet Davutoglu, the foreign minister, has said.
The money was ordered in compensation for Turkey’s invasion of the island 40 years ago.
The Mediterranean island has been split since 1974 – when Turkey sent in troops after a brief coup staged by supporters of unification with Greece – between a southern Greek Cypriot state recognised worldwide and a breakaway Turkish Cypriot entity in the north recognised only by Ankara.
Davutoglu said Turkey, which is seeking to join the European Union of which Cyprus is a member, saw no obligation to pay the compensation to a country that it did not formally recognise.
Ankara said before the announcement it would not be bound by the ruling, whose timing it said was aimed at undermining a fresh peace drive on the island. But a former Turkish judge at the ECHR said Turkey would have to pay the compensation.
Cyprus brought the case to the Strasbourg-based ECHR 20 years ago, demanding financial compensation over missing Greek Cypriots, the property of displaced people and violations of other human rights.
The ECHR ruled largely in Nicosia’s favour in 2001, but postponed until now a decision on the sum to be paid. It was not clear why the ECHR took so long to fix the amount.