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AHI Letter to Secretary of State Powell Calls for Investigation
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: ANGELIKI VASSILIOU
July 17, 2003 No. 34 (202) 785-8430

AHI Letter to Secretary of State Powell Calls for Investigation

WASHINGTON, DC—A letter to Secretary of State Colin L. Powell by the American Hellenic Institute's general counsel, Gene Rossides, sent on July 17, 2003, requests an investigation to determine the responsibility of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and the 1974 Turkish commander of Turkey's Cyprus invasion forces for the murder of five Americans.

The letter points out that the Executive Branch did not investigate the whereabouts of the five American citizens until Congress passed legislation in 1994 ordering "an investigation of the whereabouts of the United States citizens and others who have been missing from Cyprus since 1974."

The Executive Branch then conducted an inquiry and determined that the five Americans were dead, but inexplicably failed to pursue its inquiry to determine who was responsible for killing the five Americans and to bring the person or persons responsible to justice.

The letter states that on March 1, 1996, the Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, in a TV interview stated that the Turkish Army had taken into custody Greek Cypriots and handed them over to the Turkish Cypriot militia forces who killed them. Reuters reported that Mr. Denktash said:

"What happened is this. As the Turkish army was moving and was arresting Greek Cypriots, unfortunately it handed them over to fighters, our fighters [Turkish Cypriot militia] among whom there were people who had lost their families, their villages....Instead of taking them to police stations or prisoner of war camps, they killed them."

Mr. Rossides urges Secretary Powell "to direct the appropriate agencies of the U.S. government to investigate and determine the person or persons responsible for the killing of five United States citizens and others in the custody of Turkish forces and Turkish Cypriot militia in Cyprus in 1974. Specifically we request a determination as to the responsibility of 1) Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, the commander of the Turkish Cypriot militia; and 2) the then commander and officers of the Turkish invasion forces in Cyprus for the killings of five Americans and others in their custody, which are a violation of the Geneva Convention and war crimes."

For the full text of the letter click here. For additional information on the letter to Secretary Powell, please contact Angeliki Vassiliou at (202) 785-8430 or at [email protected]. For general information about the activities of AHI, please see our Web site at http://www.ahiworld.org.

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The American Hellenic Institute (AHI) and its affiliate organizations, the American Hellenic Institute Public Affairs Committee (AHIPAC), the American Hellenic Institute Foundation (AHIF), and the AHI Business Network, a division of the AHI, are working together under one roof, to provide a joint program for strengthening United States relations with Greece and Cyprus and within the American Hellenic community.