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AHI Hosts Congressional Briefing to Observe 37th Anniversary of Turkey’s Invasion of Cyprus
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Demetra Atsaloglou
July 27, 2011—No. 54 (202) 785-8430

AHI Hosts Congressional Briefing to Observe 37th Anniversary of Turkey’s Invasion of Cyprus

Foreign Affairs Chairman Addresses Audience

WASHINGTON, DC — The American Hellenic Institute (AHI) observed the 37th the anniversary of Turkey’s illegal invasion of the Republic of Cyprus by hosting a congressional briefing and forum to discuss the current state of affairs on the island at the Rayburn House Office Building, July 13, 2011.

“For 37 years, the people of Cyprus have endured an illegal occupation and massive violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms by Turkey, an ally of the United States,” said AHI President Nick Larigakis. “The briefing provided us with the viewpoints of the House’s leading authority on foreign affairs and our leaders of the Hellenic Caucus and the perspectives of those who follow the Cyprus issue closely. We thank them for their insight and the expertise they shared with us.”

The briefing, held in cooperation with the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues, featured U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), chairman, House Committee on Foreign Affairs; U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), co-chair, Hellenic Caucus and member, House Committee on Foreign Affairs; U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), co-chair, Hellenic Caucus, U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), who introduced the AHI-back bill, H.R.2597, that allows U.S. citizens to seek financial restitution for property owned in occupied Cyprus; and U.S. Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ), as speakers.

Also making presentations were: Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus to the U.S. Pavlos Anastasiades, Dr. Van Coufoudakis, dean emeritus, School of Arts and Sciences, Indiana University-Purdue University and rector emeritus, University of Nicosia; the Honorable Alexis Ghalanos, mayor of the occupied city of Famagusta and former speaker of the Cyprus House of Representatives; and AHI Foundation 2011 Foreign Policy Program Participant Dina Baroudos recounted her experience on the study abroad trip to Cyprus. AHI President Larigakis moderated the briefing.

“I call upon the Turkish government to express its full support of the reinvigorated talks, and pledge to abide by the terms of any agreement developed and agreed upon by President Christofias and Dr. Eroglu,” said Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen. “For these talks to succeed, the leader of the Turkish-Cypriot community must have the freedom to negotiate the terms of reunification of Cyprus—without behind-the-scenes pressure and imposed conditions from Ankara.”

Congresswoman Maloney added, “It is time for Turkey to withdraw its troops from Cyprus so that the island can move forward as one nation.”

In his presentation (61KB PDF), Dr. Coufoudakis discussed the recent developments in the UN sponsored talks on the resolution of the Cyprus problem and the prospects for a solution in the aftermath of the July 7 Geneva meeting; the challenges facing U.S. policy on Cyprus, and recent political developments in Turkey, in Cyprus and in the United Nations.

“We do not expect our government to “abandon” Turkey, but we cannot reward and tolerate a documented case of aggression,” said Dr. Coufoudakis. “Our government still has time to endorse a functional and viable solution based on the principles on which the EU is founded on. Failure to do so will undermine our credibility at a critical time in the Eastern Mediterranean.”

Mayor Ghalanos spoke about the history of Famagusta and Turkey’s refusal to return administration of the area to the UN and the sealed-off section of Famagusta to its inhabitants, all of which is in defiance of two UN Security Council resolutions and calls for it to do so by the European Parliament.


Photos of Congressional Briefing

 

The American Hellenic Institute is a non-profit Greek American public policy center that works to strengthen relations between the United States and Greece and Cyprus, and within the Greek American community.

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For additional information, please contact Demetra Atsaloglou at (202) 785-8430 or at pr@ahiworld.org. For general information about the activities of AHI, please see our website at http://www.ahiworld.org.