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ACTION ALERT

TO:

AHI Chapter Presidents, Congressional Contact Team Leaders, Members and Friends

FROM: Nick Larigakis, AHI Foundation Executive Director
DATE: September 20, 2010
Re:

CONTACT YOUR U.S. REPRESENTATIVE TO CO-SPONSOR RESOLUTION PROTECTING CULTURAL, RELIGIOUS HERITAGE IN OCCUPIED CYPRUS

BACKGROUND:

In the summer of 1974 Turkey launched a two-phased invasion of the Republic of Cyprus, using U.S.-supplied arms and equipment to grab nearly 40 percent of Cyprus’s sovereign territory and force 170,000 Greek Cypriots from their homes and property.

Under the Turkish occupation of northern Cyprus, religious sites have been systematically destroyed and a large number of religious and archaeological objects illegally looted, exported, and subsequently sold or traded in international art markets, including an estimated 16,000 icons, mosaics, and mural decorations stripped from most of the churches, and 60,000 archaeological items dating from the 6th to 20th centuries.

These unfortunate facts are confirmed by experts who have provided testimony to the U.S. Helsinki Commission, which held a hearing titled ‘‘Cyprus’ Religious Cultural Heritage in Peril’’ in 2009.  In addition, a Law Library of Congress Report titled “‘Destruction of Cultural Property in the Northern Part of Cyprus and Violations of International Law’’ details what obligations the government of Turkey has as the occupying power in northern Cyprus for the destruction of religious and cultural property there under international law.

As a result, U.S. Representative Gus Bilirakis (R-9-FL) has introduced a House resolution, H.Res.1631, that calls for the protection of religious sites and artifacts from and in Turkish -occupied areas of northern Cyprus as well as for general respect for religious freedom.

STATUS:

  • The legislation, H.Res.1631, was introduced on September 16, 2010 by U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis. It has 14 co-sponsors as of September 20, 2010.  
  • We need 25 co-sponsors—10 of which need to be from the House Committee on Foreign Affairs—to move the legislation! 
  • The bill currently rests with the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
  • The co-sponsors are:

Rep Berkley, Shelley [NV-1] - 9/16/2010

Rep Diaz-Balart, Mario [FL-25] - 9/16/2010

Rep Franks, Trent [AZ-2] - 9/16/2010

Rep Hinchey, Maurice D. [NY-22] - 9/16/2010

Rep Jackson, Jesse L., Jr. [IL-2] - 9/16/2010

Rep Lipinski, Daniel [IL-3] - 9/16/2010

Rep Maloney, Carolyn B. [NY-14] - 9/16/2010

Rep McGovern, James P. [MA-3] - 9/16/2010

Rep Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana [FL-18] - 9/16/2010

Rep Sarbanes, John P. [MD-3] - 9/16/2010

Rep Schiff, Adam B. [CA-29] - 9/16/2010

Rep Smith, Christopher H. [NJ-4] - 9/16/2010

Rep Space, Zachary T. [OH-18] - 9/16/2010

Rep Titus, Dina [NV-3] - 9/16/2010

 

ACTION:

Time is of the essence as Congress is winding down its current session!

We urge you to contact your U.S. representative and ask him or her to co-sponsor H.Res.1631.

  • If you do not see your U.S. representative as a co-sponsor above, please contact his/her office today.
  • Ask to speak with the Legislative Director or Foreign Affairs Legislative Assistant.
  • Advise them you are a constituent, calling from [city or town] and that you’d like the representative’s support by co-sponsoring H.Res.1631.
  • Advise the Congressional staff person to contact Congressman Gus Bilirakis’ office to sign on as a co-sponsor.
  • If you do see your legislator as a co-sponsor, please contact him or her to offer your thanks.

RESOURCE: HOUSE COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS LIST

Reminder: Of the 25 co-sponsors that are needed, 10 of them must be a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.  If your U.S. representative is a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee it is especially important that you contact him/her.

CONTACT BY TELEPHONE

Contact your members of Congress by telephone by dialing the U.S. Capitol switchboard at 202.224-3121.

CONTACT BY EMAIL/INTERNET

To write your representative, visit https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml to find your representative

NOTE: Please send a copy of your correspondence, or provide notice of a phone call made, to AHI Executive Nick Larigakis at [email protected].

QUESTIONS?

For further information or questions, please contact AHI, (202) 785-8430, or email [email protected].

THANK YOU!