- - Sunday, March 26, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s op-ed, “Turkey’s vision for Cyprus” (Web, March 19), is fraught with misinformation that Turkey has disseminated since the start of the current settlement talks. Mr. Cavusoglu cites the many security challenges facing the Eastern Mediterranean. In doing so, however, he neglects to mention Turkey’s role in fomenting regional instability vis-a-vis its cozy relationships with terrorist groups. Turkey incites further tension by violating, almost daily, the territorial naval and airspace of its NATO ally Greece. On a recent day in January, Greece’s Ministry of Defense recorded 138 violations of Greek airspace that had to be intercepted over islands in the Aegean Sea.

The situation in Cyprus is not “complex.” Mr. Cavusoglu would do well to remember the correct account of Turkey’s 1974 invasion of the Republic of Cyprus. It was not, as he calls it, an “intervention,” but instead was an illegal invasion that occurred in two phases. The first, on July 20 of that year, was in violation of the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act, the NATO treaty, the U.N. charter and the rule of law. On Aug. 14, 1974, three weeks after the legitimate government of Cyprus was restored, Turkey launched the second phase, expanding its land grab to nearly 40 percent of Cyprus‘ sovereign territory, which it continues to illegally occupy today, 42 years later.

For the first time in generations, the recent round of settlement talks has prompted what both sides refer to as “cautious optimism.” Yet it is Turkey’s continuous meddling in the internal affairs of Cyprus that prevent the issue’s resolution. If Turkey allowed the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities to negotiate without its oppressive and detrimental input, the Cyprus problem would have been resolved years ago.

NICK LARIGAKIS

President, American Hellenic Institute

Washington

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