- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 29, 2010

Hilmi Akil’s Monday letter to the editor, “Cyprus is not Gaza,” is a shameful attempt to falsely distance the Turkish government from responsibility for May’s Gaza flotilla incidents. Of the dozens of boats that set sail for Gaza, it was only on the Mavi Marmara ferry - organized by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s terrorist-classified IHH charities - that violence occurred.

The only internationally recognized and legal government on the island of Cyprus is the Republic of Cyprus. It was the legitimate government of Cyprus that refused involvement with the terrorists; the Mavi Marmara set sail from the Turkish-occupied port of Famagusta.

It was honorable of Commentary writer Daniel Pipes (“Turkey in Cyprus vs. Israel in Gaza,” Opinion, July 20) to draw a comparison between Gaza and Turkish-occupied Cyprus. Whereas Israel has no illegal settlers in Gaza, Turkey has mocked international law by importing more than 150,000 illegal settlers from mainland Turkey into homes and properties stolen from Greek Cypriots by the Turkish military in the occupation that began July 20, 1974. While Israel builds schools and universities for Arabs, Turkey has pillaged; forcibly converted Cypriots; and demolished scores of Greek and Armenian schools, universities and houses of worship in Turkish-occupied Cyprus.

Turkey’s illegal presence on Cyprus is recognized by no country except Turkey. Not content just to forcibly and illegally exploit land belonging to Greek Cypriots, Turkey shamelessly uses Turkish-occupied Cyprus to export terrorism in the region.

NIKOLAOS TANERIS

Press officer, Cyprus Action Network of America (CANA)

New York