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AHI Letter to the Editor Published in the Washington Times
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: C. Franciscos Economides
July 28, 2009—No. 58 (202) 785-8430

AHI Letter to the Editor Published in the Washington Times

WASHINGTON, DC—On July 27, 2009 the Washington Times published a letter to the editor written by American Hellenic Institute (AHI) Executive Director, Nick Larigakis, in response to a July 20, 2009 letter by Buket Kop, a representative of the so-called “TRNC” titled “Settling Cyprus.” Both letters can be viewed below.

LETTER TO EDITOR: Don’t confuse the aggressor with the victim

A recent letter to the editor ("Settling Cyprus," July 20)—submitted by a representative of an illegal entity, the so-called Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), which no country except Turkey recognizes—would have you believe the Greek Cypriots are not in favor of a unified Cyprus because they voted 76 percent against the "U.N.-sponsored settlement plan in April 2004." Nothing could be further from the truth.

Let's not forget what created the Cyprus problem and who continues to facilitate it. It was the illegal Turkish military invasion and now, 35 years later, Turkey's military continues to occupy close to 40 percent of an EU country, thus making Cyprus the only divided country in Europe. Let's not confuse the aggressor with the victim.

If Turkey were to remove its 43,000 occupation army troops from Cyprus tomorrow and abandon its illegal claims to Cyprus, I am sure the issue would be resolved by the people of Cyprus in a relatively short period of time.

In the 2004 referendum, the Greek Cypriots had no real choice but to vote a resounding "no" to a plan that was undemocratic, unviable and economically unfeasible. Rather than facilitating peace and stability, the plan would have done just the opposite. The plan was very biased against the Greek Cypriots and, in addition to its numerous other flaws, would have created two separate states on Cyprus. It also would have allowed for a permanent Turkish military presence on Cyprus and would have provided for a vague interpretation for future interventions by Turkey against Cyprus. This was not acceptable, to say the least.

NICK LARIGAKIS
Executive director
American Hellenic Institute
Washington, DC

Settling Cyprus

By Buket Kop | Monday, July 20, 2009

The article "Cyprus envoy blames division on Turkey" (World, Friday) repeats the same rhetoric we often hear from the Greek Cypriot side regarding the Cyprus issue.

If the Greek Cypriots had accepted the U.N.-sponsored settlement plan in April 2004 instead of rejecting it by a staggering 76 percent of the vote, the island would be united today. Soon after the Greek Cypriot rejection, the U.N. secretary-general himself described it as a "major setback." He went on to say, "What was rejected was the solution itself rather than a mere blueprint." He also asked the Greek Cypriots to reflect on a "bi-communal, bi-zonal federation which means not just two constituent states, but also political equality and the sharing of power." He finally called upon them to demonstrate "not just by word, but by action" if they were ready to share power with the Turkish Cypriots in a federal structure.

Even Nikos Rolandis, a former Greek Cypriot foreign minister, lists 15 occasions when the Greek Cypriot side rejected proposals for a settlement.

Instead of pointing the finger at others, the Greek Cypriot side should display the sincerity and determination that is truly needed to achieve a comprehensive and fair Cyprus settlement.

BUKET KOP
Second secretary
Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Washington Office
Washington, DC

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For additional information, please contact Franciscos Economides at (202) 785-8430 or franciscos@ahiworld.org. For general information regarding the activities of AHI, please view our Web site at http://www.ahiworld.org.