- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 3, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Bruce Fein attempts to reverse the role of aggressor and victim in Cyprus by suggesting that the United States can help unify the country if it removes the embargo against the Turkish Cypriot pseudo-state, the so-called Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (“Needing an excuse for success,” Commentary, July 22). Such a move would be tantamount to the United States legitimizing Turkey’s illegal invasion of Cyprus 34 years ago.

The historical facts are irrefutable: Turkey, the aggressor, illegally invaded Cyprus on July 20, 1974, and in the second phase of its invasion, on Aug. 14, 1974, took control of close to 40 percent of the island, displacing more than 180,000 residents from their homes and businesses.

Despite numerous U.N. resolutions calling for withdrawal of Turkish troops from Cyprus, Turkey continues to occupy more than 37 percent of the country. The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is merely a military compound created by Turkey to house the 43,000 troops Turkey maintains on Cyprus, which exceeds the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

If Mr. Fein seriously cared about what he describes as the international embargo on the TRNC, he would be calling on Turkey to remove its 43,000 troops and 160,000 Turks from Turkey who are illegal settlers.

He would insist that Greek and Turkish Cypriots be allowed to reunify their nation within the framework of the European Union and consistent with the applicable U.N. resolutions issued over the past three decades.

Instead, Mr. Fein exhorts the United States, in effect, to recognize the illegal invasion and continued occupation of Cyprus by extending to the TRNC the benefits of a nation-state. Such a policy would only continue to force the Turkish Cypriot community to remain inside the Turkish military compound and be denied the rights and benefits of citizenship in the European Union.

NICK LARIGAKIS

American Hellenic Institute

Washington

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