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AHI letter commemorating the 29th anniversary of Turkey’s aggression against Cyprus calls for U.S. action to achieve a just and viable solution based on democratic norms and the rule of law
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: ANGELIKI VASSILIOU
August 15 , 2003 No. 37 (202) 785-8430

AHI letter commemorating the 29th anniversary of Turkey’s aggression against Cyprus calls for U.S. action to achieve a just and viable solution based on democratic norms and the rule of law

WASHINGTON, DC—A letter to Secretary of State Colin L. Powell by the American Hellenic Institute’s (AHI) general counsel Gene Rossides, sent on August 14, 2003, commemorated the 29th anniversary of Turkey’s aggression against Cyprus and urged the U.S. to take action to achieve a just and viable solution based on democratic norms and the rule of law.

Mr. Rossides referred to Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus on July 20, 1974, with the illegal use of American arms and equipment, which resulted in the occupation of 4 percent of the Cypriot territory, and the second and massive phase of Turkish aggression against Cyprus on August 14, 1974, three weeks after the legitimate government of Cyprus had returned to office on July 23, 1974, with the illegal use of hundreds of U.S. tanks, hundreds of U.S. airplanes and 35,000 ground troops, which resulted in a land grab by Turkey of 33% of Cyprus.

Addressing the current U.S. policy towards Cyprus, Mr. Rossides referred to his May 15, 2003 letter to President George W. Bush, which stressed that “The time is propitious for positive movement on a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem” because of two new factors: (1) Cyprus’s accession to the EU; and (2) Operation Iraqi Freedom which demonstrated: (a) Turkey’s unreliability as a strategic ally; (b) that Turkey is of minimal strategic value for U.S. interests in the Middle East; and (c) that Turkey is an “extortionist” state.

He reiterated the four recommendations in the May 15, 2003 letter for U.S. action in the interests of the U.S.:

  • A solution based on democratic norms and a public statement that the Annan proposal is now subject to the EU’s and American principles of democracy;
  • The immediate return of Famagusta/Varosha for the resettlement of refugees;
  • The speedy demilitarization of Cyprus, and;
  • The prompt return of the illegal Turkish colonists/settlers to their homes in Turkey.

Mr. Rossides also urged Secretary Powell to oppose the Administration’s foreign aid request of $255 million in economic and military aid for Turkey in the Fiscal Year 2004 Appropriations Bill for the 16 reasons set forth in Exhibit 1. Exhibit 2 discusses the long history of Turkey’s unreliability as a strategic ally and sets forth ten examples.

In concluding, Mr. Rossides stated that “The United States bears a responsibility to redress the situation in Cyprus. It is in the interests of the United States in support of democracy and the rule of law to do so.”

The full text of AHI’s letter to Secretary Powell is attached. For additional information, 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.