- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 27, 2010

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

I am writing to express my disappointment over the map of Cyprus and the caption you ran with a recent news article (“Ghosts of conflict,” Geopolitics, March 31).

Both the map and the caption distort history and geography and lack sensitivity. The map incorrectly divides the Republic of Cyprus into two states, Cyprus and North Cyprus. This gives your readers the mistaken impression that the island of Cyprus contains two states, when in fact, there is only one internationally recognized state on the whole island of Cyprus: the Republic of Cyprus.

Second, the caption under the photograph that accompanies the article incorrectly states that “the 1974 war … divided the island into areas controlled by Turkey in the north and Greece in the south.” While you are right to point out that the northern part of our country is controlled by Turkey as a result of the illegal Turkish invasion and occupation of 36.2 percent of the territory, it is erroneous to say the south is controlled by Greece. The Republic of Cyprus, which has been illegally divided since 1974, has been an independent and sovereign country for nearly 50 years and is a member of the United Nations, the European Union, the Council of Europe and the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

For nearly 36 years, the people of Cyprus have endured an illegal occupation and numerous violations of fundamental freedoms. Roughly 43,000 Turkish army troops occupy the northern part of our island, making it one of the most densely militarized zones in the world. Turkey has treated the occupied part of Cyprus as if it were one of its own provinces and has transplanted more than 160,000 Turkish citizens while confiscating property that legally belongs to Cypriots who were evicted from their lands by the Turkish army.

I trust that in the future you will be more sensitive and factual when reporting on Cyprus.

ANDREAS S. KAKOURIS

Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus to the United States

Washington

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