The Washington Times Publishes AHI’s Letter to the Editor on Turkish FM’s Op-ed
WASHINGTON, DC — The Washington Times published the American Hellenic Institute’s letter to editor, “Turkey preventing peace in Cyprus,” March 27, 2017. AHI President Nick Larigakis wrote the letter in response to a March 19, 2017 op-ed by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu titled, “Turkey’s vision for Cyprus.”
President Larigakis calls the foreign minister’s op-ed “fraught with misinformation that Turkey has disseminated since the start of the current settlement talks.” Larigakis also corrects Foreign Minister Cavusoglu’s account of Turkey’s 1974 invasion of the Republic of Cyprus stating it was not an “intervention” as the foreign minister wrote, but instead an illegal invasion that occurred in two phases. Larigakis also includes how Turkey contributes to instability in the region via its cozy relationships with terrorist groups and almost daily violations of Greece’s sovereignty.
Larigakis concludes that despite cautious optimism that has surrounded the settlement talks process, it is Turkey’s continuous meddling in the internal affairs of Cyprus that prevent a resolution to the 42-year-old issue.
The American Hellenic Institute is an independent 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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March 26, 2017
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s op-ed, “Turkey’s vision for Cyprus” (Web, March 19), is fraught with misinformation that Turkey has disseminated since the start of the current settlement talks. Mr. Cavusoglu cites the many security challenges facing the Eastern Mediterranean. In doing so, however, he neglects to mention Turkey’s role in fomenting regional instability vis-a-vis its cozy relationships with terrorist groups. Turkey incites further tension by violating, almost daily, the territorial naval and airspace of its NATO ally Greece. On a recent day in January, Greece’s Ministry of Defense recorded 138 violations of Greek airspace that had to be intercepted over islands in the Aegean Sea.
The situation in Cyprus is not “complex.” Mr. Cavusoglu would do well to remember the correct account of Turkey’s 1974 invasion of the Republic of Cyprus. It was not, as he calls it, an “intervention,” but instead was an illegal invasion that occurred in two phases. The first, on July 20 of that year, was in violation of the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act, the NATO treaty, the U.N. charter and the rule of law. On Aug. 14, 1974, three weeks after the legitimate government of Cyprus was restored, Turkey launched the second phase, expanding its land grab to nearly 40 percent of Cyprus’ sovereign territory, which it continues to illegally occupy today, 42 years later.
For the first time in generations, the recent round of settlement talks has prompted what both sides refer to as “cautious optimism.” Yet it is Turkey’s continuous meddling in the internal affairs of Cyprus that prevent the issue’s resolution. If Turkey allowed the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities to negotiate without its oppressive and detrimental input, the Cyprus problem would have been resolved years ago.