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AHI Statement on 36th Anniversary of Turkish Invasion of Cyprus

American Hellenic Institute Announcement

AHI Statement on 36th Anniversary of Turkish Invasion of Cyprus

Will Host a Documentary Presentation, Forum on Capitol Hill to Observe Anniversary

WASHINGTON, DC —The American Hellenic Institute (AHI) has issues the following statement on the 36th anniversary of Turkey’s brutal invasion of the Republic of Cyprus on July 20, 1974:

Today we remember the solemn 36th anniversary of Turkey’s brutal invasion of the Republic of Cyprus.

On July 20, 1974, Turkey illegally invaded the Republic of Cyprus with the illegal use of U.S.-supplied arms and equipment in violation of the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, the United Nations Charter, the NATO Treaty, and customary international law. Turkey occupied about four percent of Cyprus during the initial phase of its invasion.  Turkish pilots flying American planes dropped American-made bombs, including napalm bombs, on Greek Cypriot communities.

Furthermore, on August 14, 1974, three weeks after the legitimate government of Cyprus was restored, Turkey launched the second massive phase of its invasion of Cyprus.  As a result of its two-phase invasion of Cyprus, Turkey grabbed 37 percent of Cyprus’s sovereign territory, killed innocent civilians, raped women ages 12 to 71, forced 170,000 Greek Cypriots from their homes and properties, and committed mass destruction of Cyprus’s cultural and religious heritage, including its churches and cemeteries.  Approximately 1,600 Greek Cypriots and five American citizens of Cypriot heritage went missing and a large majority of these cases remain unresolved.

For 36 years, the people of Cyprus have endured an illegal occupation and massive violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms by Turkey, an ally of the United States. Current efforts to find a solution under United Nations auspices have yielded minimal tangible results.  Under the new leadership of Mr. Dervis Eroglu, the Turkish Cypriots, with the support of Turkey, continue to present proposals and positions that are outside the parameters of the UN high-level agreement and European Union principles.  Clearly, the problem, as well as the solution to the Cyprus issue, rests in Ankara.

AHI contends the U.S can play a crucial role by getting realistic with Turkey and eliminating its double-standard policy that has rewarded Turkish aggression and ignored countless violations of the rule of law in Cyprus—a valued friend and supporter of the U.S. on counter-terrorism and security issues in the Eastern Mediterranean.
In addition, AHI continues to:

  • support a settlement of the Cyprus problem through negotiations based on a bi-zonal, bi communal federation in a state with a single sovereignty and international personality, incorporating the norms of a constitutional democracy embracing key American principles, the EU acquis communautaire and EU Founding Treaty, UN resolutions on Cyprus, the pertinent decisions of the European Court of Human Rights and of other European Courts -- as is the best interests of the United States;

  • call for the withdrawal of Turkey’s 43,000 occupation troops illegally in Cyprus;

  • call for the return of the 180,000 illegal Turkish colonists/settlers in Cyprus to Turkey and for a halt to the illegal bringing of more colonists/settlers from Turkey to occupied Cyprus to illegally change the demographics of the island and of the Turkish Cypriot community, all of which is in violation of the Geneva Convention of 1949;

  • call for the restoration of property illegally taken in the northern-occupied area of Cyprus to their rightful owners, and payment by Turkey to the owners for deprivation of the use of their property;

  • urge the U.S. government to direct Turkey to tear down the green line barbed wire fence across the face of Cyprus that makes Nicosia the last divided capital in Europe;

  • contend Ankara must not manipulate the direct talks or restrict Mr. Eroglu during negotiations; and

  • call on Ankara to normalize relations with the Republic of Cyprus, a member of the European Union (a body to which Turkey aspires to join), and as agreed to by Turkey.

AHI will host a documentary presentation and forum on Capitol Hill titled “Cyprus Still Divided: A U.S. Foreign Policy Failure” on July 21, 2010, 2pm, 2456 Rayburn House Office Building,  to observe the 36th anniversary of Turkey’s invasion of the Republic of Cyprus.

Finally, AHI draws attention to Turkey’s recent foreign policy direction that is not in the best interests of the United States.

Regarding Iran, Turkey has publically supported the Iranian dictator, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader and its fraudulent election returning Ahmadinejad to the presidency.  Turkey has denounced Iran’s opposition party and the mass demonstrations over the legitimacy of the elections.  In a CNN interview, Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan rebuffed President Obama’s call for tough new sanctions on Iran.

Regarding Israel, Prime Minister Erdogan has attacked Israel on many occasions for its actions in Gaza, including the “Flotilla Incident” that occurred May 31, 2010.  He publically attacked former Israeli President Shimon Peres at the World Economic Forum in Davos on January 29, 2009, and recently, excluded Israel from an annual NATO air force exercise in Turkey called Anatolian Eagle.  The U.S. and others refused to participate, and as a result, the exercise was canceled.

Our position has long been that the United States, in its own best interests, should critically review and reassess its relations with Turkey.  The recent actions and statements of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and other members of his government, regarding Israel, Iran, Syria and Sudan, which are contrary to U.S. policy and interests, only serve to underscore the need for a critical reevaluation of U.S. relations with Turkey.

 

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 C. Franciscos Economides at (202) 785-8430 or at[email protected]. For general information about the activities of AHI, please see our website athttp://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.