LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Securing peace in Cyprus

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I am responding to your article, “Greece seeks debt relief with rare budget surplus, ambassador says” (Web, Feb. 18).

During the interview, Ambassador Christos P. Panagopoulos commented on the U.N.-backed talks that are underway in the hope of finding a peaceful settlement to the Cyprus dispute. Even after being methodically and ruthlessly persecuted within three years of Cyprus becoming independent in 1960, Turkish Cypriots still desire a permanent solution, one that is based on a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation, with political equality, as set out in relevant U.N. Security Council Resolutions and the recently agreed-upon Joint Declaration. The past several years have been frustrating for the Turkish Cypriot people. For example, in 2004 we endorsed then-Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s peace plan, one containing painful compromises, only to see the Greek Cypriot side reject it.

It is also important to note that Turkey intervened in 1974 only as a last resort — to protect a Turkish Cypriot community under siege and uphold the territorial integrity of the island nation in accordance with the relevant international treaties.

We hope that the latest round of negotiations will result in a comprehensive and lasting agreement for the benefit of future generations of Greek and Turkish Cypriots, as well as all of the peoples of the Eastern Mediterranean, who stand to benefit from the peaceful exploration and extraction of the region’s abundant natural resources. It is similarly hoped that Ambassador Panagopoulos’ government in Athens will play a leadership role in bringing about a mutually equitable solution.

AHMET ERDENGIZ

Representative of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus

Washington

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