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Representative Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) Introduces Bipartisan Legislation Initiated by AHI which Allows Americans to Seek Financial Remedies for Their Property Losses in the Turkish Occupied Territory of Cyprus
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: GEORGIA ECONOMOU
September 15, 2004—No.55 (202) 785-8430

Representative Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) Introduces Bipartisan Legislation Initiated by AHI which Allows Americans to Seek Financial Remedies for Their Property Losses in the Turkish Occupied Territory of Cyprus

Washington, DC—On September 14, 2004 Representative Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) introduced the American Owned Property In Occupied Cyprus Claims Act, H.R. 5071, initiated by the American Hellenic Institute. Joining Representative Pallone as original co-sponsors are Representatives Mike Bilirakis (R-FL) and Carolyn Maloney (D-NJ), the co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues.

This bill will enable U.S. citizens who own property in the Turkish occupied territory of the Republic of Cyprus to seek financial remedies with either the current inhabitants of their land or the Turkish government.

"AHI considers this bill to be landmark legislation, which for the first time provides American nationals a vehicle whereby they can pursue their legal claims regarding their rightful ownership of property on the illegally occupied portion of Cyprus," said AHI Executive Director Nick Larigakis.

Since the 1974 invasion and occupation of the northern part of Cyprus, the property of Greek Cypriots and American nationals in northern occupied Cyprus was illegally taken, occupied and used by the Turkish authorities and individuals. This new bill will allow American nationals to seek financial remedies regarding their property through the following three methods:

  1. The bill authorizes the President to initiate a claims program under which the claims of U.S. nationals who Turkey has excluded from their property in occupied Cyprus can be judged by the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission (FCSC) and compensated through government-to-government negotiations between the United States and Turkey
  2. The bill empowers the United States district courts to hear causes of action asserted by U.S. nationals who have been excluded from their property in occupied Cyprus against private persons or entities that occupy or use the property of U.S. nationals in occupied Cyprus.
  3. The bill empowers the United States district courts to hear causes of action asserted by U.S. nationals who have been excluded from their property in occupied Cyprus against Turkey without having to assert those causes of action under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976 as amended.

"AHI congratulates Representative Frank Pallone and the original co-sponsors, Representatives Mike Bilirakis and Carolyn Maloney, for introducing this important legislation, and AHI Legal Counsel Nick Karambelas, Esq. for providing invaluable assistance with this legislation," said Mr. Larigakis. He also stated that, "AHI will now contact the grass roots leadership and members and the wider Greek American community to encourage them to write and call their local Representatives to urge them to co-sponsor H.R. 5071."

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