- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 17, 2005

Turkey to blame for Cyprus stalemate

Osman Ertug’s comments (“Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots,” Letters, June 6) contain inaccuracies and need clarification.

First, he uses the phrase “… Greek Cypriot administration of Southern Cyprus ….” Mr. Ertug needs to be reminded that there is only one internationally recognized entity on Cyprus, the Republic of Cyprus, led by President Tassos Papadopoulos. It is the Republic of Cyprus that is a member of the European Union and is represented at the United Nations in Brussels.

When Cyprus entered the European Union in 2004, the entire country entered. The difference is that the acquis communautaire is suspended in the north, which is in its 31st year of illegal occupation by 40,000 Turkish troops and 120,000 illegal settlers..

Mr. Ertug gives the false impression that the Turkish Cypriots want unification because “the Turkish Cypriots overwhelmingly voted in favor of [U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s] plan while the Greek Cypriots rejected it.”



For the record, based on the substantive issues in the plan, the Greek Cypriots had no real choice but to vote a resounding no — by 76 percent. The plan simply was not democratic, functional or economically feasible.

The Greek Cypriots exercised their democratic right to vote on a matter that affects them directly. They voted no because rather than facilitating peace and stability, the plan would have done just the opposite. The plan was unfair and very biased against the Greek Cypriots.

The plan, in addition to creating two separate states on Cyprus and giving an undemocratic veto on all legislative and executive-branch matters to the 18 percent Turkish Cypriot minority, would have rewarded the aggressor, Turkey, which illegally invaded Cyprus in 1974, and punished the victims, the Greek Cypriots, of which 180,000 became refugees in their country and of which 80,000 would not have been able to go back to their homes under the plan.

Incredibly, the Greek Cypriot taxpayer would have to pay for most of the costs of resettlement and compensation for those not allowed to go back.

Also, the plan unbelievably provided for a continuing Turkish military presence with broad interpretations as to its intervention rights. This obviously was not acceptable.

Mr. Ertug also claims, “Political expediency was the reason the Greek Cypriot side unilaterally joined the European Union.” Again, let us be reminded that Cyprus went through an arduous seven-year negotiation process to get into the European Union. She became a full member on May 1, 2004, because she met all the criteria.

In contrast, the entire Annan plan process was for political expediency for Turkey to receive a negotiation date to begin the EU application process. The United Kingdom- and United States-maneuvered plan had as one of its objectives to take the Cyprus problem off the table because its settlement was put as a condition on Turkey by the European Union at the Helsinki Summit of 1999.

The referenda provided the United States and United Kingdom with a neat excuse to claim that Turkey had done its best and thus Turkey could not be punished because the Greek Cypriots voted no.

The Turkish Cypriots are not in the European Union and remain isolated because of the illegal 40,000 Turkish occupation troops, the 120,000 illegal Turkish settlers and the Turkish Green Line barbed-wire fence. Turkey continues to illegally occupy Cyprus, an EU country she aspires to join.

Mr. Papadopoulos has stated repeatedly that the Greek Cypriots and he personally are committed to the solution of a bizonal, bicommunal federation with a single sovereignty.

Their rejection of the Annan plan was not a rejection of a proper solution that ultimately would unify Cyprus to the benefit of all Cypriots.

NICK LARIGAKIS

Executive director

American Hellenic Institute

Washington

Title IX, baseball and the Olympics

The recent axing of baseball and softball from the Olympic Games is now the most prominent example of the perils of gender equity and other quota schemes (“IOC cuts ‘American’ sports,” Editorial, Saturday). Title IX does not apply to the Olympics, but the social-manipulation mindset is alive and well among many at the International Olympic Committee. If softball were not so clearly unready for the Olympic stage, baseball would still be on the program.

The great dedication and athletic prowess of American women has been amazing but also sadly revelatory — the NCAA tournament, and perhaps even some state high-school championships, would have been more challenging than the best the rest of the world could muster. Elimination was not primarily because softball is American in origin — which is surely a bonus factor to the Ameriphobes — but because it is nowhere near international in competitive scope.

Baseball is arguably the most international of major professional sports in America, but as was noted in the editorial, Major League Baseball has been almost dismissive of the importance of the Olympics, and the compliment has now been returned. Several other sports also have championships more prestigious to their athletes than Olympic gold (tennis, basketball, etc.), but these are more easily accommodated in existing facilities than are baseball and softball.

The many practical benefits to the IOC of these cuts (especially to show other sports that perennial threats of “shape-up or else” are in earnest) will always be overshadowed by the sad truth that if softball were not so ripe for disposal, baseball would not have been terminated to “make things fair.”

DAVID Y. CHIU

Annandale

The autism epidemic and vaccines

Thank you for bringing up the possible link between vaccines and the autism epidemic in the United States.

Friday’s editorial, “Vaccines and autism,” fails to address the rampant conflicts involved in this issue. To refer to Dr. Thomas Verstraeten only as a “CDC epidemiologist,” is somewhat disingenuous, since Dr. Verstraeten left the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shortly after a 2000 conference to work for GlaxoSmithKline in Belgium, which manufactures vaccines. GlaxoSmithKline also was one of the companies represented at the closed June 2000 meeting in Norcross, Ga. The most telling remark made when they discussed the increase in autism coincidental with the increase in thimerosal-containing vaccines was that they should “keep this information confidential.” The remarks were obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

It should also be noted that the journal Pediatrics receives a great deal of advertising revenue from the drug industry. The CDC and Food and Drug Administration are often given the last word on thimerosal safety, but these agencies are the ones that approved and mandated the vaccines with mercury in the first place. Individuals in our federal health agencies also are the ones with more than 700 conflict-of-interest waivers for their financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry. For these reasons, none of them is a disinterested observer in the controversy.

Research has shown that testosterone intensifies the effect of mercury on the brain and estrogen reduces its toxic effect, which accounts for the four times greater rate among boys than girls.

While drug companies now claim that nearly all infant vaccines are either thimerosal-free or contain only trace amounts of mercury, most flu shots now required for infants 6 to 23 months of age still contain 25 micrograms of mercury, considered safe by the EPA for an adult weighing 550 pounds. Furthermore, the vaccines we sell to developing countries still contain mercury well in excess of U.S. guidelines. Global perception may soon be that we are only interested in protecting American children from the potential for neurological damage. Previously extremely rare in these other countries, autism rates are starting to rise alarmingly there as well.

The symptoms of autism and mercury poisoning are virtually identical. In 1999, the federal government realized it had been subjecting children to mercury far in excess of the federal guidelines for safety. Now it is in the untenable position of claiming that excess mercury does not cause mercury poisoning.

In the face of increasing research confirming damage from thimerosal and mounting evidence of corruption, collusion and cover-up of relevant data, the media everywhere must rise to the occasion with earnest investigation and fair reporting on this ongoing health care crisis.

LAURA BONO

Chairman of the board

Media relations director

ANNE MCELROY DACHEL

Media relations coordinator

RITA SHREFFLER

Secretary/press liaison

National Autism Association

Chippewa Falls, Wis.

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