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The Washington Times Prints AHI Letter
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: C. Franciscos Economides
July 18, 2005—No. 68 (202) 785-8430

The Washington Times Prints AHI Letter

Washington, DC—On July 18, 2005, The Washington Times published AHI Executive Director Nick Larigakis’ letter to the editor, on page A18, responding to Osman Ertug’s article "Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots." The text of the letter appears below, followed by The Washington Times article to which the letter responds.

July 8, 2005

Letters to the Editor
The Washington Times
3600 New York Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20002
Dear Editor:

Mr. Osman Ertug’s letter in your July 6 issue contains inaccuracies and needs clarification. First, he uses the phrase "Greek Cypriot administration of Southern Cyprus." Mr. Ertug needs to be reminded that there is only one internationally recognized entity on Cyprus, the Republic of Cyprus led by President Tassos Papadopoulos. It is the Republic of Cyprus that is a member of the European Union and represented at the United Nations and in Brussels.

When Cyprus entered the EU in 2004, the entire country entered. The difference being that the acquis communautaire is suspended in the north which is illegally occupied by 40,000 Turkish troops and 120,000 illegal settlers, now in its 31st year!

Mr. Ertug gives the false impression that only the Turkish Cypriots want unification because "the Turkish Cypriots overwhelmingly voted in favor of the [Annan] plan while the Greek Cypriots rejected it."

For the record, based on the substantive issues in the plan, the Greek Cypriots had no real choice but to vote a resounding no by 76 percent. The plan was simply not democratic, functional or economically feasible.

The Greek Cypriots exercised their democratic right to vote on a matter that affects them directly. They voted "no" because rather than facilitating peace and stability, the plan would have done just the opposite. The plan was unfair and very biased against the Greek Cypriots.

The plan, in addition to creating two separate states on Cyprus and giving an undemocratic veto on all legislative and executive branch matters for the 18 percent Turkish Cypriot minority, would have rewarded the aggressor, Turkey who illegally invaded Cyprus in 1974, and punished the victims, the Greek Cypriots, of which 180,000 became refugees in their country and of which 80,000 would not have been able to go back to their homes under the plan. And incredibly the Greek Cypriot taxpayer would have to pay for most of the costs of resettlement and compensation for those not allowed to go back.

Also, it unbelievably provided for a continuing Turkish military presence with broad interpretations as to their intervention rights. This was obviously not acceptable.

Mr. Ertug also claims that "Political expediency was the reason the Greek Cypriot side unilaterally joined the EU …" Again, let us be reminded that Cyprus went through an arduous 7-year negotiation process to get into the EU. She became a full member on May 1, 2004 because she met all the criteria.

On the contrary, the entire Annan Plan process was for political expediency for Turkey to receive a negotiation date to begin the EU accession process. The UK and U.S. maneuvered plan had as one of its objectives, to remove the Cyprus problem off the table because its settlement was put as a condition on Turkey by the EU at the Helsinki Summit of 1999. The referenda provided the U.S. and the U.K with a neat excuse to claim that Turkey did its best and thus we cannot punish Turkey because the Greek Cypriots voted "no."

Today, the Turkish Cypriots are not in the EU and remain isolated because of the illegal 40,000 Turkish occupation troops, the 120,000 illegal Turkish settlers and the Turkish Green Line barbed wire fence. Turkey continues to illegally occupy Cyprus, now a country of the EU, which she aspires to join.

President Papadopoulos has stated repeatedly that the Greek Cypriots and he personally are committed to the solution of a bizonal, bicommunal federation with a single sovereignty. Their rejection of the Annan Plan was not a rejection of a proper solution that would ultimately unify Cyprus to the benefit of all Cypriots.

Sincerely,

Nick Larigakis
Executive Director
American Hellenic Insitute

The Washington Times, 7/6/2005

Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots

Notwithstanding the commitment of the Turkish Cypriots and their elected leadership to European Union membership, I would like to clarify that the "Cyprus" to which reference is made in the article "Parliament ratifies EU constitution" (World, Friday) is the Greek Cypriot administration of Southern Cyprus, which does not represent the Turkish Cypriots or the whole of the island.

As conclusively demonstrated by the separate, simultaneous referenda on the unification plan sponsored by the United Nations in April last year (in which the Turkish Cypriots overwhelmingly voted in favor of the plan while the Greek Cypriots rejected it) neither side has the authority or competence to represent or act on behalf of Cyprus as a whole. Political expediency was the reason the Greek Cypriot side unilaterally joined the European Union in spite of its rejective attitude in May last year; it had nothing to do with reality, legality or justice. Not a single Turkish Cypriot parliamentarian has taken part in this or any other decision of the "Parliament" that was usurped by the Greek Cypriots 40 years ago and has since been monopolized by them. Only a Cyprus settlement can produce a unified republic and legislature composed of both sides that could act on behalf of Cyprus as a whole. The decision of the Greek Cypriot House of Representatives, therefore, is not binding on the Turkish Cypriot people, who have their own democratically elected representatives.

Treating the Greek Cypriot side as if it were the sole legitimate authority on the island only emboldens it in its intransigence and mitigates against a political settlement, to which the Turkish Cypriot side remains firmly committed.

OSMAN ERTUG
Representative
Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
Washington


The Washington Times, 7/1/05
Cyprus

Parliament ratifies EU constitution

NICOSIA—Cyprus yesterday defied skeptical EU partners to ratify the troubled EU constitution in the hope its endorsement of the charter would help offset bitter referendum defeats in France and the Netherlands.

The 56-seat parliament approved the constitution by a vote of 30-19, with one abstention, after a special two-day session.

Cyprus was one of 10 new members that joined the European Union in May 2004 despite the failure of a U.N. peace plan to reunify the eastern Mediterranean island after three decades years of division.

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