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House Foreign Affairs Chairman Attends “Town Hall Screening” of Groundbreaking PBS Cyprus Documentary in South Florida
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Demetra Atsaloglou
February 15, 2012—No. 09 (202) 785-8430

AHI Welcomes Commentary Warning of Turkish Aggression in Eastern Mediterranean

WASHINGTON, DC — U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), chairman, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, was the guest speaker at the latest “Town Hall Screening” of the one-hour documentary “Cyprus Still Divided: A U.S. Foreign Policy Failure” held by the American Hellenic Institute (AHI), February 10, 2012, at the Archimedean Academy Ampitheater, Miami, Fla.

In remarks (click here for 88KB PDF), Chairman Ros-Lehtinen described the “overwhelming military force” used by Turkey in the invasion of Cyprus by citing a BBC interview of Antonis Antoniou, who was five years old at the time, and she spoke of the unfortunate consequences of the invasion that resulted in thousands of Greek-Cypriots killed; sixteen hundred reported missing; and over two hundred thousand forcibly expelled from their homes and driven into exile. The congresswoman also cited the religious and cultural destruction that has occurred under Turkish occupation and the violations of religious freedom, including the interruption of Christmas Day liturgy in 2010.

“That is why it is important that films such as you will see tonight remind us of the continued presence of foreign forces on the island and the violence and division that has resulted,” Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen said, who understands the suffering of refugees because she is also one from Cuba. “So I know from my own experience what is at stake if we in this country fail to support the Greek-Cypriots in their struggle.”

Moreover, the congresswoman emphasized her repeated efforts to press for the withdrawal of Turkish forces from Cyprus in communications with the Obama administration and meetings with Turkish officials, including most recently Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu.

“…I am determined to continue to press him and every Turkish official I meet with until they understand that the U.S. will not abandon Cyprus and will continue to make it an issue in U.S.-Turkish relations until there is a just settlement,” Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen said.

A discussion about the documentary and the Cyprus issue featuring AHI President Larigakis followed the screening and the congresswoman’s remarks. Aleco Haralambides, Esq., founding member and vice president, Archimedean Academy, and AHI board member, moderated. The event was held in cooperation with The Archimedean Schools and Dolphin Capital Partners. AHI is grateful for their efforts to organize the screening and thanks Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen and Moderator Haralambides for their participation that helped to make the event a success. AHI also thanks George Kafkoulis, Ph.D., chairman of the board, Archimedean Academy, for his support of the event.

“We especially thank Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen for taking time from her busy schedule to discuss the significant ramifications of Turkey’s invasion of the Republic of Cyprus and importance of this documentary to the issue,” said AHI President Larigakis. “The documentary sheds light and scrutinizes U.S. foreign policy toward Cyprus surrounding the 1974 Turkish invasion. We are deeply grateful to the outstanding support provided by the Greek American community of south Florida, which is dedicated to raising awareness about the Cyprus issue in the community. Our goal is to encourage communities to urge their PBS affiliates to air the documentary.”

The documentary has aired on Maryland Public Television (October 17, 2011) and Detroit Public Television (September 13, 2010). The documentary was made possible by the support of the American Hellenic Institute Foundation.

To view a preview of the documentary on YouTube, please click here.

The Miami screening brings the total number of cities across North America in which the documentary has been viewed to 15.  AHI previously hosted “Town Hall Screenings” at Clearwater, Fla., New York City, Ohio, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Sacramento; and Portland, Ore., and Phoenix, Mexico City, Mexico, New Jersey, Chicago and St. Louis, Norfolk, Va, and northern Virginia. Please visit www.ahiworld.org calendar for updates of future screenings.

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.