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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Turkish-occupied Cyprus no city upon a hill

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The July 26 letter "Cyprus is not Gaza," by the representative of the so-called Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), which attempts to criticize Daniel Pipes' well-written, factual July 19 Opinion column, "Turkey in Cyprus vs. Israel in Gaza," is quite futile. Despite what the letter writer thinks of the comparisons, the facts relating to Turkey's invasion and occupation in Cyprus are indisputable.

Turkey's military action against Cyprus on July 20, 1974, was not an "intervention" but an illegal invasion of another sovereign nation with the illegal use of U.S.-supplied arms. On Aug. 14, 1974,three weeks after the legitimate government of Cyprus was restored, Turkey launched the second phase of its invasion of Cyprus without pretext, taking another 33 percent of the island, expanding its land grab to nearly 40 percent of Cyprus.

The European Commission on Human Rights report issued July 10, 1976, found Turkey guilty of killing innocent civilians on a substantial scale, raping women from the ages of 12 to 71, treating prisoners inhumanely, forcing 170,000 Greek Cypriots from their homes and property, looting and robbing on a large scale and committing mass destruction of property, including churches.

Trying to use the State Department's annual Country Report on Human Rights to support his claim that the TRNC is an "independent state" that cherishes "democracy and human rights" is simply false. Turkey created the TRNC in 1983 in defiance of United Nations resolutions. The TRNC is only recognized by Turkey. That same report refers to the lack of religious freedom and Turkey's violation of Greek Cypriot property rights and restrictions on "investigating human rights cases" in the occupied territory.

Today, Turkey continues its occupation with 43,000 troops and 180,000 illegal colonists brought from Turkey to alter the demographics, in violation of the Geneva Convention of 1949. The Turkish Cypriots are now a minority in the occupied territory and are under the direct control of Turkey and the Turkish military. The occupied north is hardly a model for "democracy and human rights."

NICK LARIGAKIS

Executive director

American Hellenic Institute

Washington

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