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Washington Times, The Washington Post Publish AHI Editorial Submissions
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Georgea Polizos
September 17, 2014—No. 46 (202) 785-8430

Washington Times, The Washington Post Publish AHI Editorial Submissions

WASHINGTON, DC — Two prominent newspapers each published editorial submissions authored by American Hellenic Institute (AHI) President Nick Larigakis in September. 

First, The Washington Times published Larigakis’ Letter to the Editor titled, “Turkey to Blame for Cyprus Division,” Sept. 4, 2014.  He wrote the letter in response to an August 22, 2014 rebuttal to a Victor Davis Hanson op-ed written by Mr. Ahmet Erdengiz.  Larigakis sets the record straight on Turkey’s illegal invasion of Cyprus on July 20, 1974, the myth of Turkish Cypriot “isolation,” and the defeat of the flawed Annan Plan in 2004.  He concludes by asserting that Turkish intransigence is at fault for the current stalemate of settlement talks, and not, as Mr. Erdengiz claims, the Greek Cypriots.   

“Turkish intransigence stymies confidence-building measures,” Larigakis writes.  “Turkey must not manipulate the settlement process, but instead, play a constructive role.  Sadly, Turkey’s interests are not that of the people of Cyprus.  Turkey’s interests are that of Turkey.

Larigakis to WP: Unnecessary Swipe at Greece

On Sept. 16, 2014, The Washington Post published in its hard copy edition President Larigakis’ editorial submission under the heading “Taking Exception” on its opinion page, granting it added weight.  The submission, titled “Greece deserves respect for holding to its word,”  called out Post Editorial Writer Charles Lane for taking a sarcastic swipe at Greece’s ability to meet NATO’s mandated minimum standard on defense spending in his Sept. 3, 2014 op-ed, “The U.S. needs to get serious about defense spending.”

Lane wrote, “In the run-up to this week’s North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit, much has been made of the fact that the United States is one of just a handful of the 28 member states that spends more than 2 percent of its gross domestic product on defense — along with Britain, Estonia and Greece, and the latter qualifies only because its GDP has collapsed even faster than its military budget.”

In his editorial submission, Larigakis called Lane’s characterization of Greece “an unnecessary sarcastic swipe” and cited several ways in which Greece has, and continues to be, a reliable NATO ally and vital to the projection of United States strategic interests in the region via NSA Souda Bay, Crete. He also states for the record Greece’s percentage of GDP spent on defense, which is nearly 2.3 percent.

  • To read Larigakis’ Washington Times Letter to the Editor, please click here or it is found below.
  • To read Larigakis’ The Washington Post submission, please click here or see below.

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

 

 


 

September 2, 2014

The Editor
The Washington Times

Dear Editor:

Erdengiz’s rebuttal (Building a bicommunal solution on Cyprus, Aug. 22) to Hanson’s Aug. 14 op-ed is provocative in tone, and littered with disinformation, which are disappointments.

He incorrectly identifies the “venerable Cyprus problem.”  The problem occurred with Turkey’s 1974 two-phased invasion of the Republic of Cyprus. The first, July 20, was in violation of the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act, the UN Charter, the NATO Treaty, and customary international law. On August 14, three weeks after the legitimate government of Cyprus was restored, Turkey launched its second phase, grabbing another 33 percent of the island to expand its occupation to nearly 40 percent of Cyprus’s sovereign territory, which it continues to illegally occupy today.

Erdengiz writes that Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots “haven’t fired bullets at each other in decades.”  This is true.  In addition, there have been 18 million-plus incident-free crossings of the “Green Line” since 2003.  These two facts together beg the question of Erdengiz as to why there are 40,000 illegally stationed Turkish troops on the island.

He bemoans Turkish Cypriots are isolated.  This could not be further from the truth. Turkish Cypriots are free to work in the government-controlled area and they are eligible to receive Republic of Cyprus passports, affording them the ability to travel globally.  The isolation he speaks of is self-imposed and administered by Turkey.  If he truly has concerns about the community, it should be directed toward Turkey and its policies on Cyprus which have endangered Turkish Cypriots.  For example, Turkey has brought more than 180,000 Turkish colonists/settlers illegally to Cyprus which has changed the demographics of the island and of the Turkish Cypriot community. This act is in violation of the Geneva Convention of 1949. 

Furthermore, the Annan Plan that was placed to a vote in 2004 was fundamentally flawed.  The plan lacked the viability to provide a just and lasting resolution to the division of Cyprus.  It also incorporated unacceptable last-minute demands submitted by Turkey. An overwhelming percentage of all Cypriots (76% of Greek Cypriots and 35 of Turkish Cypriots) rejected the plan; not a solution.

Finally, he incorrectly blames Greek Cypriots for lack of progress in the current settlement talks.  Turkish intransigence stymies confidence-building measures.  Turkey must not manipulate the settlement process, but instead, play a constructive role.  Sadly, Turkey’s interests are not that of the people of Cyprus.  Turkey’s interests are that of Turkey.

Sincerely,
Nick Larigakis
President
American Hellenic Institute
1220 16th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC  20036

 

 


 

September 4, 2014

Letters to the Editor
The Washington Post
1150 15th Street, NW
Washington, DC  20071

Dear Editor,

Instead of applauding Greece for meeting its responsibility to NATO during an unprecedented economic crisis, Charles Lane chose to take an unnecessary sarcastic swipe at the U.S.’s long-time ally in his opinion piece, “Bombs or benefits?” (Sept. 3).  During the crisis, Greece has resisted compromising its defense budget.  As stated, Greece is one of only four NATO members to meet the Alliance’s mandated minimum standard to spend two percent of GDP on defense.  Greece spends nearly 2.3 percent. Prior to the crisis, it hovered near four percent. 

A NATO ally since 1952, Greece is vital to the projection of U.S. strategic interests in the region.  It is home to the most important naval installation in the Mediterranean Sea, NSASouda Bay, Crete.  The installation played critical roles in the implementation of joint USN/USAF reconnaissance missions and air refueling support for Operations Desert Shield/Storm, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Unified Protector in Libya.  Furthermore, Greece participated in NATO or U.S.-led missions in Bosnia, Somalia, Kosovo, and Afghanistan.  

Greece, one of three nations allied with the U.S. in every major international conflict of the 20th century, and a nation that tallied the first Allied victory of WWII, deserves respect.

Sincerely,
Nick Larigakis
President
American Hellenic Institute
1220 16th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC  20036