- The Washington Times - Friday, March 5, 2010

We appreciate James Morrison’s Feb. 23 item “Recall Demanded” (Embassy Row, Geopolitics), which reported on the American Hellenic Institute’s response to comments made by U.S. Ambassador James Jeffrey to a Turkish newspaper. Journalism such as this is important in bringing to the forefront important issues that usually do not receive as much attention as other foreign policy issues.

However, the article contains several misstatements of fact about the background of the Cyprus issue. The Turkish military action against the Republic of Cyprus on July 20, 1974, was not an “incursion,” but rather an illegal cross-border invasion of another sovereign nation, accomplished with the illegal use of U.S.-supplied arms. The right-wing perpetrators of the coup, who were sponsored by the Greek junta in Athens, lasted in power for just eight days. Whatever the intent of the perpetrators of the coup, they fell from power, and the legitimate government of Cyprus was restored on July 23, 1974.

Nevertheless, Turkey launched its second invasion, expelling the Greek Cypriot population and occupying nearly 40 percent of the territory of Cyprus. It was these “military moves” that resulted in “a division of the island.” Turkey continues to illegally occupy Cyprus with more than 40,000 troops. It also has altered the demographics of the occupied area with the creation in 1983 of the so-called Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), in defiance of United Nations resolutions. The TRNC is recognized only by Turkey. Finally, Turkey continues to ship settlers from mainland Turkey to occupied Cyprus in violation of the Geneva Conventions and international law. The number of settlers now totals more than 180,000.

NICK LARIGAKIS

Executive director American Hellenic Institute



Washington

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