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AHI Applauds Senator Menendez’s Floor Speech; Calls on Turkey to Withdraw from Cyprus’ EEZ
December 17, 2014—No. 63 (202) 785-8430

AHI Applauds Senator Menendez’s Floor Speech; Calls on Turkey to Withdraw from Cyprus’ EEZ

WASHINGTON, DC — The American Hellenic Institute (AHI) applauds Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), for his December 16, 2014 speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate that lambasted Turkey for its incursion into the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the Republic of Cyprus and for its “bullying tactics” which has led to a breakdown in settlement talks. Sen. Menendez, who chairs the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, also criticized President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for his recent anti-Western rhetoric.

Sen. Menendez stated: “Mr. President, there is no doubt in my mind that Turkey’s actions have endangered peace talks between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots that began in February with a joint-communique issued by the two communities. That communique committed to finding a durable solution based on a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation with political equality. But, because of Turkey’s bullying tactics, peace talks are now on hold.

“For peace talks to resume, Turkey must immediately withdraw its ships operating in and around Cyprus. The international community has been abundantly clear in supporting Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades in recognizing Cyprus’s right to explore the resources within its Economic Zone and in condemning Turkey for this blatant violation.”

Turkey’s incursion into Cyprus’ EEZ together with President Erdogan’s anti-Western rhetoric, led Sen. Menendez to call for “an immediate and forceful response.”

“We applaud Senator Menendez for taking the time on the floor of what is known as the world’s greatest deliberative body to call attention to this critical issue,” AHI President Nick Larigakis said. “We stand with the senator’s remarks and urge his colleagues and the administration to follow through on them.”

Senator Robert MenendezSenator Robert Menendez (D-NJ)

Larigakis added, “We strongly believe Turkey’s provocative actions in the eastern Mediterranean, which we condemn, endanger the work Vice President Biden has invested toward a Cyprus solution.  We have communicated our concerns to the Obama Administration officials, and we will continue to engage with them until tensions deescalate and settlement negotiations can resume.” 

On October 24, 2014, AHI sent a letter to Vice President Joe Biden to express grave concern about actions taken by Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean that raised tensions and the lack of a public denouncement of Turkey’s actions by the Obama administration and the U.S. Department of State.  Since that time, administration officials have met with leaders of the Greek American community.

The American Hellenic Institute is an independent non-profit Greek American public policy center and think tank that works to strengthen relations between the United States and Greece and Cyprus, and within the Greek American community.



For additional information, please contact Georgea Polizos at (202) 785-8430 or at For general information about the activities of AHI, please see our website at and follow us on Twitter @TheAHIinDC.