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AHI Corrects Record for Erroneous Statements Regarding Property Bill

AHI Corrects Record for Erroneous Statements Regarding Property Bill

WASHINGTON, DC — The American Hellenic Institute (AHI) has issued the following statement in response to an erroneous public statement issued by Tsimpedes Law Firm on August 4, 2011, in reference to H.R.2597, the American Owned Property in Occupied Cyprus Claims Act, which is backed by AHI.   

The Tsimpedes Law Firm’s statement, led by its principal, Athan Tsimpedes, Esq., erroneously states the bill “equates the puppet Turkish administration of the occupied territories with a government,” implying that the bill somehow recognizes the legitimacy of the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.”  The firm’s statement also erroneously states, “It [the bill] even mandates the US Government to negotiate and settle property claims of Greek Cypriots directly with the occupiers and the settlers from Turkey.”

The fact is that the bill sets forth two distinct and separate processes by which U.S. nationals can seek the fair rental value of their property in Turkish occupied Cyprus.

  1. The bill authorizes and urges the president of the United States to open a claims program under which a claims fund would be established.  U.S. nationals or their descendants who continuously owned occupied property under the laws of the Republic of Cyprus since July 20, 1974 would claim against the fund for the fair rental value and loss of use of the property.  The Foreign Claims Settlement Commission would administer the fund.  Contrary to Tsimpedes’ claim, the fund would be established through government to government negotiations between only the United States and the Republic of Turkey.  The size and source of funds for the claims fund would be the primary subject of those negotiations.
  2. The bill also mandates that the U.S. district courts hear lawsuits asserted by U.S. nationals who own property in Turkish occupied Cyprus against a private person who occupies that property for the rental value and loss of use of the property.  The U.S. national would have to be able to obtain personal jurisdiction over that private person in the United States which means that the private person must also be present in the U.S. as presence is defined under the U.S. law.  The U.S. district court would determine whether the U.S. national has valid title and the amount of the rental value only according to the laws of the Republic of Cyprus.

As a result of the Tsimpedes Law Firm’s erroneous statement, AHI has received numerous electronic communications from the community and media organizations inquiring if the bill means that U.S citizens relinquish their property rights.  Neither process would in any way either theoretically or practically require any U.S. national to relinquish title to property in Turkish occupied Cyprus.

“The public statement issued by the Tsimpedes Law Firm is erroneous, and it has led to confusion in the community, which is unfortunate,” said AHI President Nick Larigakis.  “We firmly stand by this legislation.  We commend Congressman Frank Pallone for introducing the bill, and we appreciate the bipartisan support of the bill by the Hellenic Caucus Co-Chairs, Congressman Gus Bilirakis and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney.  We urge the community to seek the support of their U.S. representatives for this bill.”

 

The American Hellenic Institute is an independent non-profit Greek American public policy center that works to strengthen relations between the United States and Greece and Cyprus, and within the Greek American community.

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For additional information, please contact Demetra Astaloglou at (202) 785-8430 or at [email protected]. For general information about the activities of AHI, please see our website at http://www.ahiworld.org.

 


The American Hellenic Institute is a nonprofit public policy organization that works to strengthen relations between the United States and Greece and Cyprus, and also within the American Hellenic community.

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Phone 202-785-8430 | Fax 202-785-5178 | www.ahiworld.org