American Hellenic Institute

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AHI Statement On Cyprus Negotiations
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: JONATHAN CLARKE
January 11, 2001 No. 2/01 (202) 785-8430

AHI Statement On Cyprus Negotiations

On January 11, 2001, the American Hellenic Institute (AHI) released the following statement on the Turkish Cypriot decision to withdraw from the next round of proximity talks on Cyprus that were due to be held in Geneva later this month.

"The American Hellenic Institute notes with regret the decision by the Turkish Cypriot leader Mr. Rauf Denktash to withdraw from the UN sponsored proximity talks on Cyprus. AHI regards this as an irresponsible act, indicative of a lack of good will and commitment to the settlement process by Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots.

AHI further notes that Denktash's reason for withdrawal lies in his demand for recognition of the occupied areas of Cyprus as a sovereign entity. This demand conflicts with the international consensus, expressed in successive UN Security Council resolutions, that a Cyprus settlement must be based on a "bizonal, bicommunal federation with a single sovereignty." Mr. Denktash's refusal to accept this consensus is evidence of his continuing effort to undermine the internationally accepted basis for a Cyprus settlement.

The ultimate responsibility for Denktash's intransigence lies with the military-controlled government of Turkey. Turkey enjoys absolute authority over Denktash's decision-making. As such, AHI holds the Turkish military and political leadership directly responsible for setting back the cause of peace. As a UN member, Turkey's responsibility is to uphold international law, not subvert it.

AHI calls on Turkey immediately to exercise its authority over Denktash and its responsibility to international law by reversing Denktash's rejectionist position. Anything short of this will raise serious doubts about Turkey's commitments to the negotiation process on Cyprus and its professed aim to join the European Union. Turkey should also withdraw all plans, as reported in the Turkish press, to incorporate the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus into Turkey. Such action would amount to annexation in clear violation of international law, for example the UN Charter, numerous UN Security Council resolutions and the NATO Treaty. It would doom Turkey's prospects of EU accession.

Turkey's actions are a continuation of its efforts to legitimize its invasion of Cyprus and to profit from its aggression.

Finally, AHI calls on the United States to remain actively engaged in the negotiation process. The most damaging aspect of Turkey's support of Denktash's decision is that it is endangering the progress that has been achieved to date and that was on the point of leading to substantive negotiations on key issues. This is a cruel commentary on Turkey's and Denktash's willingness to disregard the interests of the Turkish Cypriot people and the interests of regional peace. AHI calls on the Administration to use all necessary means, including public pressure on Turkey, to revive the negotiation process."