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The Washington Times Prints AHI Letter
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: GEORGIA ECONOMOU
September 13, 2005—No. 79 (202) 785-8430

The Washington Times Prints AHI Letter

Washington, DC—On September 13, 2005, The Washington Times published AHI Executive Director Nick Larigakis’ letter to the editor, on page A22, responding to Osman Ertug’s article "Trouble in Cyprus." The text of the letter appears below, followed by The Washington Timesarticle to which the letter responds.

September 9, 2005

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

Dear Editor:

Osman Ertug presents inaccuracies regarding Cyprus ("Trouble in Cyprus," Letters, Sept. 4).

Historically, dating back to before the 1900s and until 1964, the two communities on Cyprus coexisted in relative peace. Thousands of peaceful daily crossings by Turkish and Greek Cypriots have occurred since April 2003 at the Green Line openings. This has demonstrated beyond a doubt that they can live and work together peacefully as they did before. It also has destroyed the propaganda of former Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, who has long claimed that they could not live together and needed to be separated.

Cyprus received its independence from the British in 1960. Mr. Ertug's claim that "Turkish Cypriots...were thrown out by force of arms by their Greek Cypriot partners in 1963" is simply false. On the contrary, it was the Turkish government's policy in 1964  supported by Mr. Denktash  that called for the Turkish Cypriots to be separated from the Greek Cypriots into six "enclaves." After Turkey's invasion of Cyprus in 1974, the continuing Turkish policy of separation and Mr. Denktash's intransigence resulted in the unwillingness to negotiate in good faith a solution to unify the island.

When Mr. Denktash in 1983 created the so-called Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which only Turkey recognizes, it furthered the division of the island, which continues until today.

Mr. Ertug likes to equate the Greek Cypriots' rejection of the Annan plan as a rejection against unifying the island just because the Turkish Cypriots voted in favor.

Seventy-six percent of the Greek Cypriots had no real choice but to vote a resounding no because the plan simply was not democratic, not functional and not economically feasible.

Rather than facilitating peace and stability, the plan would have done just the opposite. It was unfair and very biased against the Greek Cypriots.

The plan created two separate states on Cyprus and provided a veto to the 18 percent Turkish Cypriot minority; rewarded the aggressor, Turkey, and punished the victims, the Greek Cypriots; and incredibly, the Greek Cypriot taxpayer would have to incur most of the costs of implementing the plan.

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

The Cyprus government has stated repeatedly that it is committed to the solution of a bizonal, bicommunal federation with a single sovereignty, which is in accordance with U.N. resolutions. Its rejection of the Annan plan was not a rejection of unifying the island.

Sincerely,

Nick Larigakis
Executive Director
American Hellenic Institute

Washington Times, The (DC)

September 4, 2005
Trouble in Cyprus
Author: THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Section: LETTERS
Page: B02
Article Text:

The depiction of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus as "the breakaway Turkish Cypriot region" ("Officials seek to avoid crisis over Cyprus," World, Wednesday) is incorrect and unfair to the Turkish Cypriot people, who voted overwhelmingly for the unification of the island in the referenda of April 24, 2004, while the Greek Cypriots decisively rejected it.

Historically, the Turkish Cypriots never broke away from a legitimate Cyprus government but were thrown out of one by force of arms by their Greek Cypriot partners in 1963. Relevant United Nations and international press reports bear testimony to the fact that the Cyprus crisis of that period was not the result of secession of the Turkish Cypriots but an act of usurpation of political power by the Greek Cypriots aiming to unite the island with Greece. Even when declaring independence in 1983, the Turkish Cypriots left the door open to an eventual solution of the Cyprus question.

However, all efforts since then to unify the island, including the latest U.N. initiative (the Annan Plan), have been frustrated by the Greek Cypriot side, which is bent on dominating the island and reducing the Turkish Cypriots to the position of a second-class minority instead of an equal partner. Treating the Turkish Cypriot state as a "breakaway region" only encourages the Greek Cypriot leadership in its intransigence and does not enhance prospects for a settlement.

OSMAN ERTUG
Representative
Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
Washington

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