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AHI Welcomes Leading House Democrat on Foreign Affairs Berman’s Letter to Secretary Clinton on Cyprus
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Demetra Atsaloglou
April 4, 2012—No. 21 (202) 785-8430

AHI Welcomes Leading House Democrat on Foreign Affairs Berman’s Letter to Secretary Clinton on Cyprus

WASHINGTON, DC — The American Hellenic Institute (AHI) welcomes a March 22, 2012 letter (click here for 430K PDF of letter) U.S. Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA), ranking member, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, sent to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that draws attention to two Cyprus-related developments perpetrated by Turkey and calls for a reassessment of the United States’ Cyprus policy.

The two developments cited by Ranking Member Berman are Turkey’s threatened military action in response to Cyprus’ hydrocarbon exploration in its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and Turkey’s ongoing efforts to alter the demographic composition of Cyprus.

“The reunification of the Republic of Cyprus is of critical importance to the stability of the Eastern Mediterranean, a vital U.S. interest,” wrote Congressman Berman. “That’s why I am deeply disturbed two Cyprus-related developments…These developments directly undermine long-standing elements of the U.S. position in support of Cyprus reunification and call into question our ability to sustain that position.”

““We welcome Ranking Member Berman’s letter which aims to bring these two concerns to Secretary of State Clinton’s attention and calls for a reassessment of the United States’ Cyprus policy,” said AHI President Nick Larigakis. “Through its Policy Statements, the American Hellenic Institute has long called on the U.S. government to undertake a specific set of actions to resolve the Cyprus issue in a manner that upholds the rule of law, which includes respect for international law. AHI has also called on the U.S. government to condemn Turkey’s threats to Cyprus and Israel as the latter two nations pursue hydrocarbon exploration in their exclusive economic zones as is well within their sovereign rights to do.”

Larigakis added, “It is our sincere hope that Congressman Berman’s letter will help to drive the United States toward this proper and correct direction on policy toward Cyprus.”

AHI’s Position on Cyprus
AHI supports a settlement of the Cyprus problem through negotiations based on a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation in a state with a single sovereignty and international personality, incorporating the norms of a constitutional democracy embracing key American principles, the EU acquis communautaire, U.N. resolutions on Cyprus, the pertinent decisions of the European Court of Human Rights and of other European Courts--as in the best interests of the United States.

AHI calls on the U.S. government to urge Turkey to:

  1. demilitarize Cyprus now;
  2. withdraw its 43,000 occupation troops illegally in Cyprus (Turkey’s troops can be more useful if deployed in Afghanistan);
  3. return the 180,000 illegal settlers/colonists from Turkey in violation of the Geneva Convention of 1949;
  4. tear down the green line barbed-wire fence across the face of Cyprus which, together with Turkey’s 43,000 occupation forces, is the real cause of the alleged isolation of the Turkish Cypriots in the occupied northern part of Cyprus; and
  5. not manipulate the current talks or restrict Mr. Eroglu at the bargaining table.

Advancing these positions will underscore support for the rule of law and respect for international law. It will demonstrate the United States is serious about fostering a solution to the near 38-year-old Cyprus problem. The United States can also play a crucial role by getting realistic with Turkey and eliminating its double-standard policy that has rewarded Turkish aggression and ignored countless violations of the rule of law in Cyprus—a valued ally of the U.S. on counter-terrorism and security issues in the Eastern Mediterranean. It does not serve the United States’ best interest to continue with failed policies and the appeasement of Turkey.

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 [email protected]. For general information about the activities of AHI, please see our website at http://www.ahiworld.org.