- The Washington Times - Monday, October 27, 2003

Resolving the issue of Cyprus

Remarks attributed to the U.S. special coordinator for Cyprus in the Embassy Row column of The Washington Times (“Turkish pressure,” World, Oct. 21) demonstrate how American officials view the Cyprus issue and why it has remained unresolved for so long.

The State Department official, Thomas Weston, defends the U.N. plan for a settlement in Cyprus because it is all but an open secret that he is among the chief architects of the plan. What is disturbing, however, is that the plan was devised in collaboration with the Greek Cypriot side behind the backs of the Turkish Cypriots and, consequently, reflects the fundamental approach of the Greek Cypriots. Those who do not take our word for it should read the revelations of Glafcos Clerides, the leader of the Greek Cypriots, during the negotiations on the plan put forward by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi A. Annan. Mr. Clerides not only admitted this on Sept. 28, but also revealed that the purpose and strategy of the Greek Cypriot side in engaging in the negotiations was to prevent the recognition of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. As Mr. Clerides said, “Four Islamic countries had warned that, unless there was a solution of the Cyprus problem within six months, they would recognize the [Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus].”

Although this obviously one-sided strategy failed, it seems that it is being replaced by yet anothertried-and-failed method — that is, of trying to impose the plan on the Turkish Cypriot side by exerting pressure on it via Turkey. Yet no one seems to care that a crucial element in this equation is curiously missing: Who will (or can) exert the necessary pressure on the Greek Cypriot side, which, having all but achieved its strategic objective of joining the European Union without making the necessary concessions, has lost any incentive for a fair and just settlement?

OSMAN ERTUG

Representative

Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus

Washington

Mulling it over

The Turkish prime minister’s statement that the United States has put a hold on talks for the deployment of Turkish troops to Iraq (“Troops talks put on hold by U.S.,” World, Saturday) was surprising but reassuring. The United States, no doubt, is taking the Turkish troop offer seriously, while weighing carefully the wishes and interests of the Iraqi people, the Iraqi Governing Council and the Kurds in northern Iraq.

The consequences of a decision to deploy Turkish troops, while seemingly positive, are many and complicated. I expect that is why the United States has wisely asked for “a little time” to consider overall force requirements against the type of troops, scope, duration and area of operations for any Turkish deployment should a decision be made to accept the Turkish offer.

Additionally, the article’s reference to Turkish troops already stationed just inside northern Iraq to crack down on “Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) guerrillas” should more accurately refer to “Kurdish Freedom and Democracy Congress (KADEK).” While the group’s goal of an independent Kurdish state remains unchanged, the PKK changed its name to KADEK in April 2002.

JOHN D. JOHNSON

Fort Belvoir

Cable and competition

In “Cable TV price controls rejected” (Page 1, Saturday), William Glanz reports with a straight face, “Competition will do more to lower rapidly escalating cable-television rates than imposing new regulations on the industry, according to a report released by Congress’ investigative arm yesterday.”

After having been bought and paid for by the cable-TV industry, Congress deregulated the monopolistic cable-TV industry with the claim that competition in the free market would reduce rates markedly. Instead, over the past five years, rates have risen 40 percent, while the inflation rate has been just 12 percent. So, instead of admitting now that deregulation was a total failure and recommending that the cable-TV monopolies be re-regulated, lawmakers say instead that the only thing needed is “to bolster competition.”

Sure. I can see all those cable operators lining up to string their competing cables to each consumer’s house so the consumer can select the one with the most features at the lowest rates. Evidently, the cable-TV industry is still handing out big, big bribes.

FRANK CONNER

Newnan, Ga.

Other factors to consider in home-schooling’s success

While it is heartening to read that adults who have been home-schooled (“Homegrown success,” Culture, Thursday) are more likely to read, be involved politically and be happierthantraditionally schooled adults, the result is hardy surprising and does not deserve great celebration. After all, parents who elect to home-school their children must at a minimum be well-educated — they have to teach their children — and they must be at home all day, because otherwise doing the teaching would be impossible. These two factors alone put these children at a tremendous advantage over their traditionally educated counterparts.

What this research is really finding is that children of parents with advanced degrees and children who have a stay-at-home parent have better outcomes than those without those twin advantages. Big surprise. This result has already been reported. Unless this research can remove the effect of those factors, as well as any others that can confound the results, the findings are simply an artifact of poor research design.

ELLIOT F. EISENBERG

Kensington

Protesting without facts

An antiwar rally was held Saturday in the District, at which a host of individuals condemned our president, his policies and our nation (“Demonstrators march against Iraq occupation,” Metropolitan, Sunday).

While part of the glory of being American is our right to engage in public protest without government sanction, it surely pains every patriot to note the ignorance of many of those who gathered in Washington ostensibly in the pursuit of peace.

The rallying cry of the protesters was, “Bring the troops home now,” and they also inveighed against spending another dime of U.S. taxpayer money in Iraq.

One can be against the war, and one may even think President Bush deliberately misled the American people to engage us in it. But reasonable people agree that the worst thing we could do now would be to pull out, letting Iraq crumble. Were we to exit while Iraq remains unstable, the forces of hatred and oppression, led by Saddam Hussein or some other tyrant, would return, and the message would go out to the world that the United States runs when the going gets tough, and that we will not tolerate casualties. This would make our nation and its inhabitants even greater targets for terrorists, ripe for blackmail through a mere threat of violence from a credible force.

My respectful message to the protesters and to potential future protesters is this: By all means, protest if you feel strongly about an issue. Before you do, though, be informed and educated about the issues and be careful what you seek. Your stated goals may bring catastrophe.

OREN M. SPIEGLER

Upper Saint Clair, Pa.

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