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AHI Urges Closer U.S. Links With Democratic Opposition In Occupied Areas Of Cyprus
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: JONATHAN CLARKE
July 19, 2000 No. 36/00 (202) 785-8430

AHI Urges Closer U.S. Links With Democratic Opposition In Occupied Areas Of Cyprus

On July 19, 2000, Mr. Eugene T. Rossides, General Counsel of the American Hellenic Institute sent a letter to Ambassador Thomas Weston, Special Coordinator for Cyprus, drawing attention to demonstrations in the occupied areas of Nicosia on July 18 in favor of "Peace Now" on the basis of a "single republic." Given that this approach reflects U.S. views, the letter urges the State Department to encourage these forces.

The text of the letter reads:

"I was interested to note reports in the Turkish Cypriot media of a large demonstration on July 18, 2000 in the occupied areas of Nicosia in favor of "Peace Now." The reports stated that up to 10,000 people participated in favor of "Peace Now" and against Mr. Denktash's approach. Speakers included Mr. Mehmet Ali Talat, leader of Republican Turkish Party (RTP), Mr. Izzet Izcan, leader of the Patriotic Union Movement (PUM). Another speaker was Mr. Sener Levent, editor-in-chief of the Turkish Cypriot newspaper AVRUPA.

I do not have particulars of their remarks but I was very struck by a statement by Mr. Levent of July 11, 2000 when he said: "We are fighting for a single Republic of Cyprus. To be honest, we are being held prisoner in our own homeland. Whatever Ankara and its commanders want, they get." Mr. Levent was, of course, immediately arrested for his comments.

I would be interested in your interpretation of these events. Do you believe that there is significant opposition to Mr. Denktash's insistence on a separate sovereignty for the occupied areas? If so, how can the U.S. use and encourage this opposition, given that it is reflecting U.S. positions?"