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AHI Sends Letter to 8 U.S. Companies Urging Them to Reconsider Their Delegation Trip to Occupied Northern Cyprus
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: C. Franciscos Economides
February 14, 2005—No.7 (202) 785-8430

AHI Sends Letter to 8 U.S. Companies Urging Them to Reconsider Their Delegation Trip to Occupied Northern Cyprus

WASHINGTON, DC—The AHI has sent a letter to 9 U.S. businesses urging them to reconsider their forthcoming scheduled business delegation trip to occupied northern Cyprus.

The AHI has learned that a U.S. business delegation comprising representatives from 9 U.S. companies is scheduled to visit the occupied part of Cyprus this Thursday, February 17, 2005. What is especially troubling is that the Commercial Attaché of the U.S. Embassy in Ankara is accompanying them to seek out potential business opportunities in this illegally Turkish occupied part of the island.

This would suggest that it was organized by our U.S. Embassy there and supports the recent message as conveyed in an interview given by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on her recent trip to Turkey, where she said:

"…we are looking at what we can do to ease the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots because we, like everyone else, were disappointed that the Annan plan was not adopted. We have taken some steps, direct aid for instance to Turkish Cypriots, but there are probably other things that we should look at doing…"

The isolation of the Turkish Cypriots is obviously caused by the Turkish Green Line barbed wire fence across the face of Cyprus and the 35,000 Turkish occupation troops which prevent free movement of Turkish and Greek Cypriots in Cyprus.

The delegation of businesses planning to visit northern Cyprus include the following: Shaw/Stone & Webster, El Paso Corporation, FedEX Corporation, Cushman & Wakefield, Inc, Comcast Corporation, Oracle Corporation, GNC Corporation and Raymond James and Associates Inc.

The northern occupied part of Cyprus is not a legal entity under international law and is not recognized by any nation in the world, except for Turkey. In 1974, Turkey illegally invaded and occupied 37.3 percent of the northern part of the island. This illegal invasion and occupation violates several UN resolutions, including UN General Assembly Resolution 3212, which called for the removal of all foreign military forces, as well as Security Council Resolution 365, which endorses 3212.

The international community, including the EU recognizes only the Republic of Cyprus as the legitimate government of Cyprus. This forthcoming trip is viewed as "an organized effort by the US to promote the upgrading of the breakaway regime of the north", said the Greek Commerce Minister George Lillikas. This trip comes under the auspice of "easing the economic isolation of the Turkish Cypriots by expanding business contacts on and off the island, said US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher. However, this action is in dire breach of UN resolutions 541 and 550.

"This U.S. business delegation trip to occupied Cyprus violates U.S. law, UN resolutions and international law and should be reconsidered by these U.S. companies involved. We ask AHI members and friends to contact the U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Members of Congress to ask them to please initiate action that would put an immediate end to this delegation trip. In addition, the AHI has contacted our friends in Congress to initiate action in response to this delegation trip and a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will follow," said AHI Executive Director Nick Larigakis.

The full text of the letter follows:

February 14, 2004
Shaw/Stone & Webster
El Paso Corporation
FedEX Corporation
Cushman & Wakefield, Inc.
Comcast Corporation
Oracle Corporation
GNC Corporation
Ramond James and Associates, Inc.

Dear (CEO):

I write to you and eight other U.S. companies regarding your participation in a forthcoming business delegation visit to the illegally occupied northern territory of Cyprus. We would like to bring to your attention some facts about northern Cyprus of which you may not be aware. The so-called "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" (referred to as the TRNC) is an illegal entity under international law and is not recognized by any nation in the world except for Turkey.

By way of historic background, Turkey’s illegal 1974 invasion of the sovereign Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish army’s continuing illicit occupation of 37.3 percent of the island—accomplished with the unlawful use of U.S. arms—are violations of the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended, article 2 (4) of the UN Charter, and the North Atlantic Treaty. The Turkish occupation violates several UN resolutions, such as the unanimous UN General Assembly Resolution 3212, passed on November 1, 1974, which called for the removal of all foreign military forces. It also violates Security Council Resolutions, including Resolution 365, passed on December 13, 1974 to endorse Resolution 3212. At present, there is still an illegal Turkish occupying force in northern Cyprus as well as illegal Turkish settlers.

If your company is contemplating an investment or business venture of any kind in the "TRNC", please consider the following:

  • There is no international treaty that protects foreign investments in the "TRNC".

  • The only rightful owners of real property in the "TRNC" are those persons who hold title under the laws of the Republic of Cyprus. The only transfers of title or other interest in real property in the TRNC that are legal are transfers that are accomplished under the laws of the Republic of Cyprus. Since the Turkish military prevents the operation of the laws of the Republic of Cyprus in the TRNC, any transfer is illegal and subject to rescission by the rightful owner.

These rightful property owners include U.S. citizens. U.S. Representative Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) introduced the American Owned Property in Occupied Cyprus Claims Act, H.R. 5071 on September 14, 2004. This bill will be reintroduced to Congress in the coming months. The bill vests subject matter jurisdiction in the federal courts to hear causes of action against any person or entity subject to the personal jurisdiction of the federal courts who uses or occupies the real property of any U.S. citizen who holds title to that property under the law of the Republic of Cyprus. The bill had 15 cosponsors. We would also like to make you aware that the bill will be reintroduced in Congress this Wednesday, February 16th, 2005 and is expected to have 12 original cosponsors.

  • A number of rightful owners of property in the TRNC have filed causes of action against Turkey in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). The ECHR has so far ruled in favor of 3 of those rightful property owners and, in one case, issued a judgment against Turkey in excess of $1 million.

  • The Republic of Cyprus acceded to the European Union as of May 1, 2004. Under an EU law enacted in 2001, the courts of one EU member nation must recognize and enforce the judgments of the courts of another EU member nation. A Greek Cypriot whose property is occupied by a British person who "bought" the property from a Turkish Cypriot, sued for damages in a Cypriot court which rendered judgment in favor of the Greek Cypriot. The Greek Cypriot then docketed the judgment in a British court and is seeking to enforce the judgment against the assets of the British person in Great Britain.

  • The EU recognizes only the Republic of Cyprus as the legitimate government of Cyprus. The acquis communautaire, the body of rights and common obligations that bind all the member states together within the EU, applies throughout Cyprus but has been suspended in the TRNC because of continued illegal occupation by Turkey.

  • Any business activity of any kind in or involving the TRNC violates EU law as well as international law

We strongly urge your company to seriously reconsider your visit to occupied northern Cyprus and to consider the prudence of any investment or other business venture in or involving the TRNC. The titled property owners are committed to vindicating their legitimate property rights in any forum and under any circumstances.

Sincerely,

/S/Gene Rossides
President, American Hellenic Institute &
Former Assistant Secretary, U.S. Treasury

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For additional information, please contact C. Franciscos Economides at (202) 785-8430 or at pr@ahiworld.org. For general information regarding the activities of AHI, please view our Web site at http://www.ahiworld.org.