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Syria Out of Lebanon—Turkey Out of Cyprus
March 24, 2005—No.23 (202) 785-8430

Syria Out of Lebanon—Turkey Out of Cyprus

WASHINGTON, DC—The following Op-Ed article by AHI President Gene Rossides appeared in The National Herald of March 19, 2005, page 13 and The Hellenic Voice of March 23, 2005, page 5.

Syria Out of Lebanon—Turkey Out of Cyprus

By Gene Rossides

President Bush last month called for the immediate removal of Syrian troops from Lebanon. Last year the U.S. actively supported UN Security Council Resolution 1559 which called for the removal of all non-Lebanese forces from Lebanon in effect telling Syria to get out of Lebanon.

The serious effort to remove Syrian troops from Lebanon started after the tragedy of the February 14, 2005 assassination of the former Prime Minister of Lebanon, Rafiq Hariri. Mr. Hariri had resigned last fall in protest to Syria’s maneuvers to keep the pro-Syrian Lebanese President Emile Lahoud in office for three years beyond the constitutional limit.

The world outcry at the assassination of Mr. Hariri is a testament to the high regard in which he was held. Mr. Hariri was a leading businessman who entered the political arena in Lebanon and achieved significant results for his people. He was also one of the world’s leading philanthropists. I had the privilege of forming the Hariri Foundation, USA, which provided scholarships for over 3,000 Arab students from Lebanon and other countries in the Middle East.

Getting Syrian troops out of Lebanon is in the best interests of the U.S. Getting Turkish troops out of Cyprus is also in the best interests of the U.S.!

The failure to call for the removal of Turkish troops from Cyprus is a striking example of the double standard in Turkey’s favor. It is particularly distressing as the Turkish troops which invaded Cyprus caused substantial loss of lives, huge destruction of property and 200,000 Greek Cypriot refugees. Today, Turkey’s armed forces occupy 37.3% of Cyprus. The reasons to call for the removal of Turkish troops from Cyprus are as compelling, and more so, than getting Syrian troops out of Lebanon.

President Bush should also call for the immediate withdrawal of Turkey’s 100,000 illegal colonists in Cyprus and the tearing down of Turkey’s Green Line barbed wire fence across the face of Cyprus. The removal of Turkey’s troops, colonists and Green Line barbed wire fence would solve the Cyprus problem because the Greek and Turkish Cypriots could then work out a fair and effective agreement.

Why hasn’t President Bush called for the removal of Turkey’s illegal troops and colonists from Cyprus and the tearing down of the Green Line barbed wire fence (as President Reagan called for the Soviets to tear down the Berlin Wall)? The answer is that he has followed the failed State Department policy of a double standard on the application of the rule of law to Turkey. That policy started in 1974, when Turkey invaded Cyprus with the illegal use of U.S. arms, and has continued to the present time.

The person promoting the double standard this past decade is former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Marc Grossman. Mr. Grossman retired on February 25, 2005 and will be succeeded by Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs designate Nick Burns. Hopefully Mr. Burns will initiate a review of the U.S.-Turkey policy, a review which is long overdue.

Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), a senior member of the House International Relations Committee, recently stated that "the ‘no’ vote issued by the Greek Cypriots was not a vote against reunification. Rather, it was the legitimate expression of the real concerns that made that particular version of the Annan Plan unacceptable to the Greek Cypriot voters, particularly the continuing presence of Turkish troops on the island. They’ve got to go." (Speech, Washington, D.C., 3-5-05, American Hellenic Institute annual dinner.)

Instead of calling for the removal of (1) Turkish invasion and occupation troops from Cyprus, (2) the illegal colonists and (3) the illegal Turkish Green Line barbed wired fence, the State Department says they are part of the negotiations, which means, in effect, the State Department’s support for Turkish aggression.

The State Department’s "double speak" on Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus compared to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait is right out of George Orwell’s 1984.

A review of U.S. policy towards Turkey should begin with the Eisenhower Doctrine: "There can be no peace without law. And there can be no law if we were to invoke one code of international conduct for those who oppose us an another for our friends." Eisenhower applied that doctrine to halt and reverse aggression by Britain, France and Israel against Egypt in 1956.

A top UN official has informed Syria that the UN will be considering "wide punitive sanctions" if Syria does not comply with UN SC Res. 1559. The U.S. should also consider sanctions against Turkey if Turkey does not get out of Cyprus now.

Each reader can help. Call and write to President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and urge them to call for the immediate removal of Turkish troops from Cyprus. Contact them as follows:

The Honorable George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20500
Phone: 202-456-1111 (President’s message line)
Fax: 202-456-0200

The Honorable Condoleezza Rice
Secretary of State
State Department
2201 C Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20520
Phone: 202-647-4000 (Main Switchboard)
202-647-6575 (Public Affairs)

Gene Rossides is President of the American Hellenic Institute and former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury


For additional information, please contact C. Franciscos Economides at (202) 785-8430 or at For general information regarding the activities of AHI, please view our Web site at