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AHI Hosts Briefing on the Hill for Staffers "Cyprus and Washington’s Hypocrisy" by Dr. Ted Galen Carpenter
July 22, 2005—No. 70
(202) 785-8430

AHI Hosts Briefing on the Hill for Staffers
"Cyprus and Washington’s Hypocrisy"
by Dr. Ted Galen Carpenter

WASHINGTON, DC—On July 21, 2005, the occasion of the 31st year of Turkey’s invasion and occupation of the northern part of Cyprus, AHI hosted a briefing and luncheon on Capitol Hill for Congressional staffers. The speakers giving presentations were Professor Van Coufoudakis who spoke on "Cyprus: An Assessment of the Annan Plan—Prospects for a Solution" and the distinguished foreign policy expert, Dr. Ted Galen Carpenter, Vice President for Foreign Policy and Defense Studies at the CATO Institute, who titled his remarks "Cyprus and Washington’s Hypocrisy."

Dr. Carpenter stated that "It is important that U.S. foreign policy have a clear moral content…the policy toward Cyprus has always been a glaring exception to this professed concern about moral principles." To illustrate this case, Dr. Carpenter pointed out the State Department’s "distortion of reality" on its website in describing Turkey’s 1974 invasion of Cyprus. State’s website says:

"In July 1974 the military junta in Athens sponsored a coup led by extremist Greek Cypriots against the government of President Makarios. Turkey, citing the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee, intervened militarily to protect Turkish Cypriots. In a two-stage offensive, Turkish troops took control of 38 percent of the island. Almost all Greek Cypriots fled south while almost all Turkish Cypriots fled north."

In response to this version of events Dr. Carpenter said that this is a "thoroughly offensive distortion of reality and a version that slavishly echoes the version of events put out by the Turkish government. Leave aside for a moment the point that the second stage of the intervention occurred AFTER the legitimate government of Cyprus was back in power. The second stage…that conquered 34 percent of Cypriot territory, compared to the 4 percent in the first stage. The problem with that description of the 1974 event is beyond such inaccuracy. The entire tone of the account is inaccurate and offensive."

"Imagine if you will that if the State Department website author of this description had been put in charge of describing Germany’s 1939 invasion of Poland. It probably would have been something along the lines of the following: ‘In September 1939 Germany executed an unsolicited takeover bid for the western half of Poland. Responding to complaints about Poland’s treatment of German residents in the Polish Corridor and the city of Danzig, Germany decided to take military action. In a rapid offensive, German troops pacified the area.’"

He continued, "I guarantee you everyone would be outraged at that kind of inaccurate and sanitized version of what was a horrific act of aggression. No one would regard that as even remotely accurate. The State Department’s sanitized version of Turkey’s INVASION, that’s what it was, and OCCUPATION, that’s what it continues to be, of Cyprus is hardly more accurate than the example I just gave."

In discussing "Washington’s hypocrisy," Dr. Carpenter stated: "The stark reality is that Turkey committed a brutal act of aggression against its neighbor and it continues that act of aggression with an illegal and immoral occupation to this day and that calls out for a proper U.S. response. Washington should criticize Ankara’s Cyprus policy for what it is in no uncertain terms. There should be an end to the double standard. Consider how the U.S. treated and continues to treat Turkey’s act of aggression against Cyprus with the U.S. response to Iraq’s equally illegal invasion and occupation of Kuwait in 1990."

"No one is suggesting that the United States use military force to expel Turkish troops from Cyprus. Turkey is a significant player in that part of the world, and we have to have a working relationship with that country on a variety of issues. But there is a difference between a working relationship and a cozy relationship. We don’t need to fawn over Turkey—and we certainly don’t need to parrot Turkish propaganda on the State Department’s website."

"Again, it is important that at least on the diplomatic level our foreign policy have a strong and consistent moral content. That means, condemning Turkey’s aggression for what it is, and making it clear to Ankara that there are strict limits to the relationship between our two countries as long as it continues to occupy the territory of its neighbor. It also means not adopting a policy of moral equivalence between an aggressor and its victim. Specifically, that means stop treating the Greek Cypriots as the source of the Cyprus problem for refusing to approve the fatally flawed Annan Plan. And yet, that is very much what Washington has done and continues to do."

In conclusion Dr. Carpenter stated, "The United States badly needs a transfusion of moral consistency into its Cyprus policy. The current policy I’m afraid tends to give hypocrisy a bad name."


Ted Galen Carpenter is vice president for defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute. The Cato Institute is a leading conservative think tank in Washington, D.C. Dr. Carpenter is the author of 6 books and the editor of 10 books on international affairs. His books include The Korean Conundrum: America's Troubled Relations with North and South Korea (2004), Bad Neighbor Policy: Washington's Futile War on Drugs in Latin America (2003), Peace and Freedom: Foreign Policy for Constitutional Republic (2002), The Captive Press: Foreign Policy Crises and the First Amendment (1995), Beyond NATO: Staying Out of Europe's Wars (1994), and A Search for Enemies: America's Alliances after the Cold War (1992). He is also the author of more than 300 articles and policy studies. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Financial Times, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, National Interest, World Policy Journal, and many other publications. He is a frequent guest on radio and television programs in the United States, Latin America, Europe, East Asia and other regions. Dr. Carpenter received his Ph.D. in U.S. diplomatic history from the University of Texas and serves on the editorial boards of Mediterranean Quarterly and the Journal of Strategic Studies. He is a contributing editor to The National Interest.

AHI will distribute Professor Van Coufoudakis’ comments during the week of July 25.

Attached please find a photograph of Dr. Ted Galen Carpenter giving his presentation.


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