American Hellenic Institute

AHI Calendar

 

2017golf illustration

Facebook Image
AHI Protests White House Criticism of Cyprus as Contrary to U.S. Interests: Defends Cyprus' Right to Self-Defense

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: JONATHAN CLARKE


May 6, 1998 No. 21/98

AHI PROTESTS WHITE HOUSE CRITICISM OF CYPRUS AS CONTRARY TO U.S. INTERESTS: DEFENDS CYPRUS' RIGHT TO SELF-DEFENSE

In a letter to President Clinton dated May 6, 1998, the American Hellenic Institute protested the statement by White House spokesman Mike McCurry on April 30 criticizing Cyprus for its purchase of an air-defense system based on the S-300 missile. The letter defended Cyprus' right as a sovereign nation to acquire appropriate defensive weapons systems for national self-defense.

The letter points out that the Administration criticism misses the key points:

"First: Every country has the right to self-defense under international law and the UN Charter. The S-300 are defensive anti-aircraft missiles.
MM"Second: There is no offensive threat to anyone from these missiles, least of all Turkey. For anyone to suggest otherwise is a deliberate misstatement of fact.

"Third: The Republic of Cyprus, a country with a population of 600,000 and without a standing army, has ordered the system not to invade any of its neighbors (how could it?), but because it faces continuing aggression and belligerence from Turkey. The latter has an overwhelmingly larger population, maintains the area's largest land army, and represents the largest defense expenditure in NATO as a percentage of its GDP. Turkey occupies 37.3% of Cypriot territory.

"The Administration's criticism of Cyprus' action as 'destabilizing' is a distortion of Orwellian proportions. The Turkish forces and the Turkish attitude of belligerence represent the destabilizing elements in Cyprus and the region. Cyprus is reacting to the threat of a vastly more powerful country by implementing a modest increase in its defensive capability. And it is prepared to cancel that step if Turkey shows a reasonable willingness to come to the negotiating table.

"With Ambassador Holbrooke's mission, the Administration is engaging on a major initiative to solve the Cyprus problem. As Mr. Holbrooke discovered during his visit to Cyprus from May 1-3, his mission faces deeply entrenched Turkish intransigence. The Administration's continuing failure to recognize the underlying realities simply stiffens this intransigence.

"Turkey is the aggressor, a fact documented in successive UN resolutions dating back to 1974 all of which have been supported by the United States. Cyprus is the victim. If the Administration continues to refuse to recognize these two vital facts there will be no progress on the Cyprus problem."