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Statement by the American Hellenic Institute Commemorating the 30-Year Anniversary of Turkey’s Aggression Against Cyprus
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: GEORGIA ECONOMOU
July 20, 2004—No.49 (202) 785-8430

Statement by the American Hellenic Institute Commemorating the 30-Year Anniversary of Turkey’s Aggression Against Cyprus

WASHINGTON, DC—On July 20, 2004, the American Hellenic Institute issued the following statement commemorating the tragic 30-year anniversary of Turkey’s aggression against Cyprus:

Today, July 20, marks the sad 30-year anniversary of Turkey’s illegal invasion and illegal occupation of the sovereign country of Cyprus.

Thirty years ago Turkey invaded Cyprus with the illegal use of American arms and equipment, which resulted in the occupation of 4 percent of the Cypriot territory. The second massive phase of Turkish aggression against Cyprus came on August 14-16, 1974, three weeks after the legitimate government of Cyprus had returned to office on July 23. These aggressions were conducted by the Turkish military using hundreds of U.S. tanks, hundreds of U.S. airplanes and 35,000 ground troops, with the result being a land grab by Turkey of 37.3 percent of Cyprus and the forced leaving of 200,000 Greek Cypriots from their homes and properties.

Since 1974, U.S. policy on the Cyprus problem has been a foreign policy failure. For years the U.S. has favored Turkey regarding Cyprus, thereby disregarding its moral obligation and national security interests.

The latest example, in the form of the flawed Annan Plan, only serves to illustrate the support for Turkey regarding Cyprus.

The Annan Plan, engineered by Britain and the U.S., was a flawed document that did not go to the core of issues of unifying Cyprus and providing for a just and viable solution.

The disparity in the referenda vote, Greek Cypriots 76 percent against and Turkish Cypriots 65 percent in favor, further underscores, even to the uniformed observer, that this was not a document that was fair to both, but rather biased against one, the Greek Cypriots.

In examining various provisions of the plan the sharp bias towards Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots is clear. It actually wipes out, believe it or not, Turkey’s aggression against Cyprus.

Incredibly, for our government to have helped draft and to support this plan and the ensuing undiplomatic attacks by our U.S. officials on the Greek Cypriots for their "no" vote is an embarrassment to our foreign policy.

In the final analysis the Greek Cypriots voted "no" against the Annan plan because it was unfair, unbalanced, unworkable, not financially viable and rewarded the aggressor, Turkey, and punished the victims, the Greek Cypriots. For the State Department to contend otherwise is Orwellian.

So, thirty years later, we still are commemorating the Cyprus problem. If the U.S. and the world community is serious about solving this problem solutions have to be pursued that are just and viable.

As Americans we need to keep reminding our policy makers and elected officials that in pursuit of U.S. interest and American values the U.S. should immediately call for the following:

  • Full demilitarization of Cyprus by support of and implementation of the unanimous UNGA Res. 3212 of November 1, 1974 urging "the speedy withdrawal of all foreign armed forces and foreign military presence and personnel from the Republic of Cyprus and the cessation of all foreign interference in its affairs;" and calling "upon all states to respect the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity" of Cyprus;

  • Support for a constitutional democracy for Cyprus "based on majority rule, the rule of law and the protection of minority rights;"

  • Support for changes and modifications in the UN Annan Plan for Cyprus: (1) to make it fair, balanced, workable, financially viable and just; (2) to include the immediate demilitarization of Cyprus; (3) to provide for the prompt return to Turkey of the over 110,000 illegal settlers from Turkey with all costs to be borne by Turkey, the aggressor; (4) to call for the immediate tearing down by Turkey of the Green Line barbed wire fence; (5) to have a property recovery and compensation system paid for by the aggressor Turkey; and (6) to have the right of all Cypriots to buy property and live wherever they chose without being limited by ethnic quotas.

None of us wishes to commemorate 31 years next year.

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For additional information, please contact Vivian Basdekis 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.