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AHI Commemorates 40th Anniversary of Turkish Invasion of Cyprus with Capitol Hill Book Presentation by AHI Founder
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Georgea Polizos
July 18, 2014—No. 42 (202) 785-8430

AHI Commemorates 40th Anniversary of Turkish Invasion of Cyprus with Capitol Hill Book Presentation by AHI Founder

Issues Statement on Anniversary

WASHINGTON, DC — The American Hellenic Institute (AHI) commemorated the 40th anniversary of Turkey’s invasion of the Republic of Cyprus with a Capitol Hill breakfast and book presentation on “Kissinger & Cyprus: A Study in Lawlessness” by AHI Founder and former Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Treasury Eugene Rossides.  The book presentation featuring Rossides was held at the Rayburn House Office Building, July 9, 2014.

In his presentation, Rossides explored four themes found in his book: 1) then National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger's responsibility for the Cyprus tragedy of 1974 and its aftermath; 2) Cyprus’s importance as a strategic, economic, and political asset to Europe and the U.S.; 3) Turkey's actions as a rogue state; and 4) the Rule of Law and the United States.

“Rossides’ work is timely,” AHI President Nick Larigakis said. “As Cyprus settlement negotiations are taking place, it is important for people to understand and familiarize themselves with the historical context of the issue and the perspective from which the Republic of Cyprus approaches these settlement talks.  In this vein, the book provides a solid foundation for the reader.”

Dignitaries present were: U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), co-founder and co-chair, Congressional Hellenic Caucus; U.S. Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV), Ambassador of Cyprus to the U.S. George Chacalli, and several congressional staff members.

AHI Statement on 40th Anniversary of the Turkish Invasion of Cyprus

The American Hellenic Institute remembers the solemn 40th anniversary of NATO member Turkey’s brutal invasion of the Republic of Cyprus, a member of the European Union.

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, 1974three 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 its 2014 annual report, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom held Turkey 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 40 years, the Republic of Cyprus, a member of the European Union, and its people, have endured an illegal occupation and massive violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms by Turkey, a NATO ally of the United States. Moreover, Turkey’s threats and inflammatory rhetoric toward Cyprus are a disappointment.  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.  AHI also cites Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’sNovember 2013 comment, “There is no country named Cyprus. There is the local administration of south Cyprus” as evidence of Turkey’s incendiary rhetoric.

Therefore, the problem, as well as the solution to the Cyprus issue, rests in Ankara.

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 validated by Vice President Joe Biden, who during his historic visit to Cyprus in May 2014, described the U.S.-Cyprus relationship as now “a genuine, strategic partnership” that “holds even greater promise.”  Vice President Biden acknowledged Cyprus’s role in support of the mission to eliminate chemical weapons from Syria and to help prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.  Since his visit to Cyprus, the vice president has reaffirmed a bolstered U.S.-Cyprus relationship is in place and publically stated Turkish troops should be removed from the island.  

Furthermore, Congress’s leading legislators on foreign policy, U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations; and U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), chairman, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, reaffirmed Cyprus’s contributions in counterterrorism and nonproliferation efforts which demonstrate Cyprus’ role as a reliable ally and partner to the United States in the region, in a letter to President Obama this week.

During 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.  The Republic of Cyprus also aspires to join NATO’s Partnership for Peace, which allows for cooperation between NATO and non-member countries.

 In a June 2013 interview, U.S. Ambassador to Cyprus John Koening stated the government of President Nicos Anastasiades is more committed to closer cooperation with the United States than any other previous Cypriot governments.  

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.  In light of all this encouraging rhetoric and engagement from high-ranking United States government officials on U.S.-Cyprus relations and the Cyprus issue, AHI calls on the U.S. government to place pressure on Turkey to advance the Rule of Law on Cyprus. Turkey must demonstrate that it will cease its intransigence on Cyprus and play a constructive role in the settlement process. 

As we mark the solemn 40th 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 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; and
  • urge the U.S. government to 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 in the Ankara Protocol (which would extend Turkey's customs agreement with the EU by opening its ports to goods from Cyprus).

The American Hellenic Institute is a non-profit Greek American public policy center and think tank 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 Georgea Polizos 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 and follow us on Twitter @TheAHIinDC