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AHI Statement On The 27th Anniversary Of Turkey's Invasion Of Cyprus
July 19, 2001 No. 39/01 (202) 785-8430

AHI Statement On The 27th Anniversary Of Turkey's Invasion Of Cyprus

On the 27th anniversary of Turkey's 1974 invasion of Cyprus, the American Hellenic Institute issued the following statement:

"Twenty-seven years have now passed since Turkey perpetrated its brutal invasion of the Republic of Cyprus with American arms and equipment, in violation of U.S. laws, the UN Charter, the NATO Treaty and international law.

Although the Cyprus problem has been on the international agenda throughout this time, efforts to solve the problem have not been successful due to the intransigence of the military-controlled government of Turkey. This absence of progress damages important U.S. interests in Southeast Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean, and compromises the fundamental American values of the rule of law and respect for human rights.

The U.S. bears a national responsibility for the Cyprus tragedy of 1974 because of the actions of Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in encouraging the illegal coup against President Makarios on July 15, 1974 and the illegal invasion of Cyprus by Turkey on July 20, 1974, and his unlawful conduct in failing to halt immediately arms to Turkey as required by U.S. law. On May 15, 2000 Secretary of StateMadeleine Albright acknowledged that the United States bears a "moral responsibility" for Cyprus. On November 11, 1997 Ambassador Richard Holbrooke described U.S. actions in 1974 as "shameful." At a Capitol Hill conference on Cyprus on June 10, 1998 Ambassador Tom Boyatt, the State Department's Cyprus desk officer in 1974, stated that "a Cyprus solution is possible if the U.S. steps up to its responsibilities and remembers its own guilt. So we have a redemption factor here."

Faulty U.S. policy since the invasion and up to this day is the major reason for the failure to produce a settlement. Since 1974, the U.S. has treated Cyprus as a traditional diplomatic problem where "meet-in-the-middle" negotiations involving compromises by each side are embraced. The approach has been an utter failure, for although Cyprus has repeatedly compromised, Turkey has never reciprocated. Cyprus President Glafkos Clerides has cooperated fully with the UN and has negotiated constructively at the proximity talks held in New York and Geneva. The Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash has not.

To break the deadlock in negotiations, the U.S. must follow a realistic approach based on the fundamental truths and facts underlying the Cyprus problem. Among these are:

  • The Cyprus problem is principally an issue of invasion, aggression and illegal occupation by the Turkish military. There is no difference in international law or in principle between Iraq's invasion of Kuwait and Turkey's invasion of Cyprus. As a NATO ally and EU aspirant, Turkey should be held to the highest standards of compliance with international law.
  • For 27 years, Turkey has violated the will of the U.S., the UN and the EU by refusing to end its illegal occupation of 37.3 percent of Cyprus. On the contrary, Turkey has reinforced its military presence in Cyprus and has sent over 80,000 illegal Turkish colonists to settle in the occupied areas of Cyprus, in violation of the Geneva Convention of 1949.
  • Turkey's occupation of 37.3 percent costs the Turkish government an estimated one billion dollars annually.

The time has come to restore these essential truths and facts to the center of policy. The Bush Administration should now:

  • Identify Turkey and its military-controlled government as the guilty party in the Cyprus problem, and recognize that the Turkish military is the primary reason for the Cyprus problem and the present deadlock.
  • Demand that Turkey comply immediately and without exception to all relevant UN Security Council resolutions, cease all measures to integrate the occupied areas with Turkey, and agree to the demilitarization of the island.
  • Demand the immediate repatriation to Turkey of the 80,000 Anatolian Turks who have colonized Cyprus in violation of international law.
  • Stress that the UN and G8 sponsored proximity talks should be aimed at achieving a settlement based on a bizonal, bicommunal federation in a single sovereign state that incorporates the norms of constitutional democracy.
  • If the talks fail because of the bad faith tactics of Turkish and Turkish Cypriot leaders, Turkey must be held accountable. Such conduct should be deemed harmful to U.S. interests and inconsistent with the EU accession conditions for Turkey stipulated in the December 1999 Helsinki Declaration.
  • Institute against Turkey a pragmatic diplomatic approach, including but not limited to coercive measures such as making any future IMF and World Bank loans contingent on a settlement of the Cyprus problem in accordance with UN resolutions and democratic norms."

For additional information, please contact Chrysoula Economopoulos at (202) 785-8430 or, and visit our Web site at