- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 26, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Buket Kop’s Monday letter, “Settling Cyprus,” neglects to mention the major setback to any real hope of a settlement or solution to the division of the island of Cyprus — the bullying presence of many thousands of Turkish soldiers, the most blaring reminder of Turkey’s military legacy on the island.

The Turkish military invasion of Cyprus, launched on the orders of the Bulent Ecevit government of Turkey on July 20, 1974, was an attack by land, sea and air on a relatively small, defenseless island. Those forces, which under the rejected Annan Plan would have been allowed to sit on the island, forced hundreds of thousands of people out of their homes, towns and villages and killed thousands of Cypriots — acts that could be considered ethnic cleansing or even genocide.

On July 10, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan reacted to the killing of 150 ethnic Turks, the Uighurs, in China by calling it an act of genocide. “These incidents in China are as if they are genocide,” he said. “We ask the Chinese government not to remain a spectator to these incidents. There is clearly a savagery here.”

Turkish military forces killed more than 150 people in Cyprus, even by official Turkish statistics. “Instead of pointing the finger at others,” to borrow Mr. Kop’s phrase, Turkish officials should take the time to look in the mirror and ask themselves: With the legacy of the Pontian Greek genocide and the genocide in Cyprus, why would the victims of such savagery want to live under Turkish military rule?

GEORGIA MARATHEFTIS

Executive director

Cyprus Action Network of America (CANA)

New York

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