- - Tuesday, January 20, 2015

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Guy Taylor’s “Newsmaker Interview” with Turkish Cypriot negotiator Ergun Olgun (“Cypriot union threatened by dispute over oil and gas rights,” Web, Jan. 11) is a public relations ploy by Turkey to lure the public away from Turkey’s latest violation of international law: its ‘gunboat diplomacy’ in the eastern Mediterranean and incursion into Cyprus‘ Economic Exclusive Zone (EEZ).

To be clear, the Republic of Cyprus was the only internationally recognized sovereign government established in 1960. Its president is Nicos Anastasiades. The republic has the sovereign right under international law to explore and exploit its natural resources within its EEZ. The United States has repeatedly stated that it supports Cyprus‘ sovereign right to explore energy in its offshore areas.

Cypriot government officials, such as Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides, have said that the island’s natural resources belong to all its people and that once a settlement is reached, potential revenues will be shared.

Turkey’s choice to obstruct settlement talks and escalate tensions is regrettable. The incursion into Cyprus‘ EEZ is the latest in a long line of Turkish international-law violations against Cyprus. Turkey illegally invaded Cyprus in 1974 and continues to occupy it today with more than 43,000 illegal troops and more than 180,000 illegal settlers. Mr. Olgun’s claim that the Cypriot government “has jeopardized” the peace process because it seeks its sovereign right to develop its potential energy resources is simply ridiculous.

NICK LARIGAKIS

President

American Hellenic Institute

Washington

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