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AHI Condemns Turkish Prime Minister Ecevit's Statements Threatening Annexation Of Occupied Cyprus And Commends Ambassador Bandler's Response
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: CHRYSOULA ECONOMOPOULOS
November 9, 2001 No. 56/01 (202) 785-8430

AHI Condemns Turkish Prime Minister Ecevit's Statements Threatening Annexation Of Occupied Cyprus And Commends Ambassador Bandler's Response

The American Hellenic Institute (AHI) condemns the statement made by Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit to annex the occupied zone of Cyprus upon accession of the Republic of Cyprus to the European Union (EU) as inflammatory and counterproductive, particularly given the current international crisis ensuing from the terrorist attacks on the U.S. of September 11. Any such action by Turkey is fully condemned as a violation of the rule of law, U.S. laws, the UN Charter, the NATO Treaty and international law, and poses a serious threat to the stability of the Southeastern Mediterranean region.

As quoted in the Turkish daily newspaper Milliyet on November 4, 2001, Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit asserted that "Turkey could take radical decisions if South Cyprus is admitted to the EU," and according to Mr. Ecevit, "Two paths could be followed for Turkey's integration with the TRNC. There are two methods for this: (1) total annexation, and (2) autonomous status."

Strongly reiterating U.S. support of the 1999 EU Helsinki decision, U.S. Ambassador to Cyprus, Donald Bandler, stated that the U.S. "supports the accession of Cyprus to the EU and thinks that this accession process can be an incentive for a just and endurable settlement in Cyprus," and that a solution to the problem should not be a precondition for Cyprus' accession to the EU.

The AHI commends Ambassador Bandler for his comments regarding the most recent Ecevit threat to the stability of Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean, and urges the Bush Administration and U.S. legislators to move quickly towards a resolution on the Cyprus problem.

AHI founder Gene Rossides stated:

"With the most recent Ecevit threat on Cyprus, the time has come for justice to be served in favor of all Cypriots. Twenty-seven years have now passed since then Prime Minister Ecevit and the Turkish general staff perpetrated their brutal agression against Cyprus with the illegal use of American arms and equipment in violation of U.S. laws, the UN Charter, the NATO Treaty and international law.

"I commend Ambassador Donald Bandler for his prompt and decisive reiteration of the U.S. position, namely that the U.S. 'supports the accession of Cyprus to the EU and thinks that this accession process can be an incentive for a just and endurable settlement in Cyprus, and that a solution to the problem should not be a precondition for Cyprus' accession to the EU.

"Ecevit was Prime Minister in 1974 when he and the Turkish military high command, headed by Chief of Staff General Evren, ordered the invasion of Cyprus and the bombing of innocent civilians in Nicosia, Kyrenia and elsewhere with the illegal use of American-supplied planes and bombs. Ecevit and the then Turkish military Chief of Staff are war criminals just as Milosevic and Saddam Hussein, and should be brought to justice for their crimes."

The AHI urges President Bush and Congress to remain steadfast in their support of Cyprus' current progression towards EU membership without a prior political solution, and to press Turkey and Turkish Cypriot leadership to abandon their intransigent position and reopen negotiations toward a legal and just settlement for Cyprus.

The AHI also urges members and friends to write to the President and their representatives and senators in Congress condemning Turkey's most recent threats and in support of Cyprus' accession. In support of the latter initiative, members and friends can write to their representatives to co-sponsor H.Con.Res.164 (click here), which "expresses the sense of Congress that security, reconciliation, and prosperity for all Cypriots can be best achieved within the context of membership in the European Union which will provide significant rights and obligations for all Cypriots."

For additional information, please contact Chrysoula Economopoulos at (202) 785-8430 or [email protected], and visit our Web site athttp://www.ahiworld.org.


FOLLOWING IS THE TEXT OF H.CON.RES.165,
INTRODUCED BY REP. MICHAEL BILIRAKIS (R-FL)


107th CONGRESS
1st Session
H. CON. RES. 164

Expressing the sense of Congress that security, reconciliation, and prosperity for all Cypriots can be best achieved within the context of membership in the European Union which will provide significant rights and obligations for all Cypriots, and for other purposes.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
June 19, 2001

Mr. BILIRAKIS (for himself, Mrs. MALONEY of New York, Mr. GILMAN, Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN, Mr. SMITH of New Jersey, Mr. ENGEL, Mr. PALLONE, Ms. BERKLEY, Mr. DIAZ-BALART, Ms. LEE, Mr. CROWLEY, Mr. MENENDEZ, Mrs. CAPPS, Ms. ESHOO, Mr. WAMP, Mr. DOYLE, Mr. KIRK, Mr. KNOLLENBERG, Mr. ANDREWS, Mr. VISCLOSKY, Mr. MATSUI, Mr. BLAGOJEVICH, Mr. CAPUANO, Mrs. NAPOLITANO, Mr. PAYNE, Mrs. MORELLA, Mr. COYNE, Mr. HINCHEY, Mr. KING, Mrs. MYRICK, Mr. HORN, Mr. BROWN of Ohio, Ms. PELOSI, Mr. KENNEDY of Rhode Island, Mr. SHERMAN, Ms. MCKINNEY, Mr. MCGOVERN, Mr. TIERNEY, Mr. STARK, Mr. LEWIS of California, Mr.BAIRD, Mr. BLUMENAUER, Mr. GEKAS, and Mr. ACKERMAN) submitted the following concurrent resolution; which was referred to the Committee on International Relations


CONCURRENT RESOLUTION

Expressing the sense of Congress that security, reconciliation, and prosperity for all Cypriots can be best achieved within the context of membership in the European Union which will provide significant rights and obligations for all Cypriots, and for other purposes.

Whereas the status quo on Cyprus remains unacceptable;

Whereas a just and lasting resolution of the Cyprus problem, on the basis of United Nations Security Council resolutions, must safeguard the security and fundamental rights of all citizens of Cyprus, Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots alike;

Whereas Cyprus is among the leading candidate countries for accession to the European Union, in recognition of its commitment to free markets, human rights, democracy, and the rule of law;

Whereas the European Union guarantees to all its citizens the indivisible universal values of human dignity (supporting fair and equal treatment of all), freedom (right to security, marriage, family, among others), equality (celebrating cultural, religious, and linguistic diversity), solidarity (protecting workers' rights and providing social security), citizens' rights (voting), and justice (holding a fair trial);

Whereas membership in the European Union will guarantee each citizen of Cyprus important legal, civil, and human rights, as well as the means and legal recourse necessary to secure the full application of these fundamental individual rights, and to promote the respect of cultural diversity and traditions;

Whereas membership in the European Union will bring significant benefits to both the Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot communities, including new economic opportunities, access to new markets, a freer exchange of goods and services, balanced and sustainable development as well as the free movement of persons, goods, and services and capital;

Whereas the European Council in its Summit Conclusions of December 1999, in Helsinki, stated that `a political settlement [of the Cyprus problem] will facilitate the accession of Cyprus to the European Union . . . [i]f no settlement has been reached by the completion of accession negotiations, the Council's decision on accession will be made without the above being a precondition';

Whereas both the United States and the European Union in their summit statement on the New Transatlantic Agenda of June 14, 2001, pledge to continue to work together to support the efforts of the United Nations Secretary General to achieve a comprehensive settlement with respect to Cyprus consistent with relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions and to continue to work toward the resumption of talks;

Whereas resolution of the Cyprus problem is in the strategic interests of the United States, given the important location of Cyprus at the crossroads of Europe, Africa, and Asia; and

Whereas resolution of the Cyprus problem is also consistent with American values, as enshrined in the rights guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, which guarantees the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That it is the sense of Congress that--

  1. the unacceptable status quo on Cyprus must be ended and the island and its people be reunited, in a bizonal, bicommunal federal Cyprus, on the basis of United Nations Security Council resolutions;
  2. the accession of Cyprus to the European Union would act as a catalyst for the solution of the Cyprus problem without the latter being a precondition for accession;
  3. membership of Cyprus to the European Union should be strongly supported;
  4. all Cypriots be urged to support and encourage efforts to bring Cyprus into the European Union; and
  5. the various agencies of the United States Government should pursue vigorously and as an issue of high and urgent priority new initiatives that will help promote and achieve reunification, reconciliation, stability, and prosperity on Cyprus.