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AHI Statement on 38th Anniversary of Turkish Invasion of Cyprus
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Demetra Atsaloglou
July 20, 2012—No. 45 (202) 785-8430

AHI Statement on 38th Anniversary of Turkish Invasion of Cyprus

WASHINGTON, DC — The American Hellenic Institute (AHI) has issued the following statement on the 38th anniversary of Turkey’s invasion of the Republic of Cyprus on July 20, 1974:

Today we remember the solemn 38th anniversary of Turkey’s brutal invasion of the Republic of Cyprus.

On July 20, 1974, Turkey invaded the Republic of Cyprus with the illegal use of U.S.-supplied arms and equipment in violation of the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, the United Nations Charter, the NATO Treaty, and customary international law. Turkey occupied about four percent of Cyprus during the initial phase of its invasion. Turkish pilots flying American planes dropped American-made bombs, including napalm bombs, on Greek Cypriot communities.

Furthermore, on August 14, 1974, three weeks after the legitimate government of Cyprus was restored, Turkey launched the second phase of its invasion of Cyprus. As a result of its two-phase invasion of Cyprus, Turkey grabbed 37 percent of Cyprus’s sovereign territory, killed innocent civilians, raped women ages 12 to 71, forced 170,000 Greek Cypriots from their homes and properties, and committed mass destruction of Cyprus’ cultural and religious heritage, including an estimated 500 churches and religious sites belonging to Christian and Jewish communities. In 2012, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom recommended that Turkey be designated a ‘country of particular concern,’ holding it responsible for its actions in the area of Cyprus it occupies. As a result of Turkey’s invasion, approximately 1,600 Greek Cypriots and five American citizens of Cypriot heritage went missing and a large majority of these cases remain unresolved.

For 38 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. Current efforts to find a Cyprus solution under United Nations auspices are at an impasse. Under the leadership of Dr. Dervis Eroglu, the Turkish Cypriots, with the support of Turkey, have presented hardline positions that are outside the parameters of the UN high-level agreement and European Union principles that have led to a stalemate. Furthermore, Turkey has ceased contact with the EU presidency while Cyprus is at the helm. By not recognizing the EU presidency, Turkey is for all intents and purposes, not recognizing Europe. Clearly, the problem, as well as the solution to the Cyprus issue, rests in Ankara.

Moreover, Turkey’s bellicose threats toward Cyprus continue to intensify. In addition to the 43,000 illegal Turkish troops occupying the Republic of Cyprus, Turkish threats against Cyprus have been cast because of Cyprus’ exploration for hydrocarbon reserves in its exclusive economic zone (EEZ), which it is well within its sovereign right to do.

The Republic of Cyprus is a valued ally of the U.S. on counter-terrorism and security issues in the eastern Mediterranean. This has been proven by Cyprus on multiple occasions in the past decade. Cyprus was the first EU nation to sign the United States’ Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI). In 2006, 15,000 American citizens were evacuated to Cyprus from Lebanon during the Israel-Lebanon conflict. Currently, Limassol port is used by U.S. military personnel deployed in the region for R&R. AHI contends the U.S can play a crucial role in finding a solution to the Cyprus issue 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.

As we mark the solemn 38th anniversary of Turkey’s invasion of the Republic of Cyprus, AHI continues to:

  • support 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 and EU Founding Treaty, UN resolutions on Cyprus, the pertinent decisions of the European Court of Human Rights and of other European Courts -- as is the best interests of the United States;
  • call for the immediate withdrawal of Turkey’s 43,000 occupation troops illegally in Cyprus;
  • call for the return of the 180,000 illegal Turkish colonists/settlers in Cyprus to Turkey and for a halt to the illegal bringing of more colonists/settlers from Turkey to occupied Cyprus to illegally change the demographics of the island and of the Turkish Cypriot community, all of which is in violation of the Geneva Convention of 1949;
  • call for the return of the sealed-off section of Famagusta to its lawful inhabitants by Turkey as noted in UN Security Council resolutions 550 (1984) and 789 (1992) and the 1979 High Level Agreement between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities, which stated that priority should be given to the resettlement of Famagusta under the UN auspices. This position was recently reaffirmed by the European Parliament in a written declaration issued February 2012;
  • call for the restoration of property illegally taken in the northern-occupied area of Cyprus to their rightful owners, and payment by Turkey to the owners for deprivation of the use of their property;
  • urge passage of H.R.2597, the American Owned Property in Occupied Cyprus Claims Act, which sets forth two distinct and separate processes by which U.S. nationals can seek the fair rental value of their property in Turkish occupied Cyprus;
  • urge the U.S. government to direct Turkey to tear down the green line barbed wire fence across the face of Cyprus that makes Nicosia the last divided capital in Europe;
  • contend Ankara must not manipulate the direct talks or restrict Mr. Eroglu during negotiations;
  • call on Ankara to normalize relations with the Republic of Cyprus, a member of the European Union (a body to which Turkey aspires to join), and as agreed to by Turkey.

 

The American Hellenic Institute is an independent 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.