At a time when Cyprus needs objectivity and space for a solution “by Cypriots, for Cypriots,” a phrase coined last month by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, instead we’re force-fed more biased commentary and tired rhetoric from Bruce Fein, a resident scholar with the Turkish Coalition of America (“Needing an excuse for success,” Commentary, Tuesday). Enough already.
The United States and European Union did not and could not promise to end the isolation of Cypriots living in the northern occupied part of the island.
This isolation was caused by Turkey as it maintains upward of 40,000 troops there, in breach of dozens of United Nations resolutions. Nor can they do so now without a solution that secures the troops’ removal.
The United States and EU promised to let Cyprus “as a whole” enjoy the fruits of EU accession if the Cypriot people “as a whole” had been able to accept Kofi Annan’s plan. They weren’t able. That’s democracy.
Their reasons are well-documented.
They have more to do with genuine security fears and a continued infringement of fundamental freedoms than with punishing their long-suffering compatriots living in Turkey’s protectorate.
The Annan plan — a blueprint for division and apartheid rather for unification — was rejected because it put the interests of foreign powers ahead of those of the indigenous people of Cyprus.
Indeed, the United States should give President Dimitris Christofias a reason to sell reunification on just and equitable terms.
It should leave him and his counterpart in the north, Mehmet Ali Talat, free to develop a real reunification plan that benefits the Cypriot people as whole, ahead of Turkey’s military.
On the 34th anniversary of the unlawful Turkish military invasion of the independent island Republic of Cyprus, Mr. Fein engages in the well-tried and true propaganda tactic of “blaming the victim.”
Unsurprisingly, since he is writing for the Turkish Coalition of America, Mr. Fein fails to call for the withdrawal of the 43,000-strong Turkish military occupation forces from Cyprus that, by breaking U.S. arms export-control laws, continue to violate U.N. Security Council resolutions.
There are also violations of the basic human rights of Greek and Turkish Cypriots alike, as the European Court of Human Rights has established on numerous cases adjudicated before it such as Loizidou v. Turkey, Cyprus v. Turkey and Isaac et al. v. Turkey.
Mr. Fein applauds the failed 2004 Annan “peace plan.” But he ignores the fact that this “plan” had asked the innocent victims of the 1974 Turkish invasion and occupation to pay three times over for Turkey’s unlawful and criminal conduct: (1) When they had to abandon their properties and possessions; (2) when they managed to rebuild their lives and the economy of the Cyprus Republic; and (3) by having to finance the economic development of the Turkish-occupied areas under the “plan” without having concrete and timely assurances that they would be able to regain their lost properties in full.
Not surprisingly, the majority of Cypriot citizens voted against this “peace proposal.”
By implementing the U.N. Security Council resolutions and the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights, the Cyprus crisis can easily be resolved.
LABROS E. PILALIS
Camp Hill, Pa.
Bruce Fein falsely equates the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus with the occupied territories of Cyprus that are ruled by the Turkish military at the behest of a foreign power in Ankara. The Republic of Cyprus is represented by a democratically elected president who represents native-born Cypriots.
The northern territories of Cyprus are Turkish-occupied territory and have no legal or political legitimacy and include 100,000 Turkish citizens who have seized the homes and property of Greek refugees who were drivenout by the invading Turkish military in 1974.
Mr. Fein does not mention the recent legal ruling of the European Court on Human Rights that found Turkey to be responsible for the murders of Greek Cypriots Tasos Isaac and Solomos Solomou.
These Cypriot protesters were murdered in cold blood by the occupation regime during the summer of 1996.
It would be morally, politically and legally repugnant for the world to begin trading with the regime in the occupied territories of Cyprus considering the human rights violations undertaken by the Turkish military.
The policies of the Turkish government in Cyprus are comparable in some aspects to those of the Taliban.
The Taliban destroyed ancient Buddhist statues while Turkish occupation leaders in Cyprus have systematically profaned and destroyed over 500 Greek Orthodox churches that have been celebrated for their Byzantine religious art and their status as houses of worship.
Turkish aggression and expansionism in Cyprus cannot be hidden.
Ankara’s agenda was manifested in 1955 with the formation of a terrorist group that called itself Cyprus Is Turkish and which played a significant role in the infamous anti-Greek pogroms that were carried out in Constantinople in 1955.
The racist nature of the Turkish occupation in Cyprus is demonstrated by Ankara’s dual policy of ethnic cleansing, which was directed at both Greeks in Cyprus and the Greek minority inside Turkey. Finally, the citizens of Cyprus rejected the Annan plan in 2004 democratically through a referendum.
This contrasts nicely with the brutal measures of Turkey as can be seen by the slaughter of the Cypriot protesters. These examples vividly illustrated the difference between democratic Cyprus and the Kemalist dictatorship of the occupied territories.
Hellenic Electronic Center
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