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The Washington Post Publishes AHI’s Letter on Biblical Archaeological Tour Group’s Illegal Entry to Cyprus
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Demetra Atsaloglou
July 23, 2012—No. 46 (202) 785-8430

The Washington Post Publishes AHI’s Letter on Biblical Archaeological Tour Group’s Illegal Entry to Cyprus

WASHINGTON, DC — The Washington Post published a letter to editor on Monday, July 23, 2012 submitted by the American Hellenic Institute (AHI). AHI’s letter to the editor authored by President Nick Larigakis was written in response to the July 8, 2012 opinion piece “Old Cyprus feud snares tour group,’” by Hershel Shanks, editor, Biblical Archaeology Review. Shanks’s organization, the Biblical Archaeological Society, chose to enter Cyprus via an illegal port of entry when it embarked on a tour of Cyprus’ religious sites despite efforts by AHI and other entities to educate the Society about the detriments of such an action. 

Larigakis corrects inaccuracies and notes omissions in Shanks’s piece about Cyprus.   For example, Shanks inaccurately stated that “Turkish Cypriots” occupy Cyprus. Larigakis also notes that Shanks excluded mention of the destructions of Cyprus’ religious and cultural heritage. Additionally, Larigakis’ letter places emphasis on importance of adhering to the rule of law when traveling to Cyprus and clearly defines the legal manner to enter the Republic of Cyprus.

“The efforts of the American Hellenic Institute to educate Mr. Shanks about the Cyprus issue and the merits of adhering to the rule of law when traveling to Cyprus seem to have struck a nerve. The law is clear. The legal airports of entry into the Republic of Cyprus, which includes the illegally Turkish-occupied north, are Larnaca or Paphos,” wrote Larigakis.

In closing, Larigakis asserts Shanks has taken an irresponsible position and has done a disservice to his colleagues by “embracing convenience at the expense of international law…”

Larigakis’ letter is also found below.

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.

 

Op-Ed Published July 23, 2012 (article as it appeared in the paper)

Hershel Shanks's July 8 op-ed, "Cyprus vs. Cyprus - and us," provided a distorted account of the Cyprus issue.

First, the Turkish military illegally occupies Cyprus, not the "Turkish Cypriots," as Mr. Shanks wrote. He also did not mention that an estimated 500 churches and religious sites belonging to Christian and Jewish communities have been desecrated, pillaged or destroyed in the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus. It appears the "fine, reputable Turkish tourist agency" that Mr. Shanks described conveniently excluded these sites from his group's itinerary.

The efforts of the American Hellenic Institute to educate Mr. Shanks about the Cyprus issue and the merits of adhering to the rule of law when traveling to Cyprus seem to have struck a nerve. The law is clear. The legal airports of entry into the Republic of Cyprus, which includes the illegally Turkish-occupied north, are Larnaca or Paphos.

Mr. Shanks has taken an irresponsible position, embracing convenience at the expense of international law - thus allowing a group of highly respected American archaeologists to be used as pawns by a desperate illegal state recognized only by Turkey.

Nick Larigakis, Washington
The writer is president of the American Hellenic Institute.