JULY 23, 2008

  • Mr. ROTHMAN. Madam Speaker, I rise today in remembrance of the 34th Anniversary of the Turkish Invasion of Cyprus and to commemorate this tragedy for the Greek Cypriot people.
  • The 34th commemoration of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus serves to remind all freedom-loving people to solemnly remember the 1974 Turkish military invasion of the island of Cyprus, to mourn those who lost their lives in the invasion, and to condemn the ongoing Turkish occupation. For the past 34 years, Cyprus has endured the illegal military occupation of more than one third of its territory by the Turkish armed forces, in violation of a number of U.N. Security Council resolutions. However, both the U.S. and the Cypriot governments remain committed to achieving a peaceful resolution of this dispute through diplomatic negotiations.
  • However, the strong U.S.-Cyprus relationship is not just based on a shared interest in ending the Turkish occupation of Cyprus, but also on the fact that the U.S. and Cyprus share a deep and abiding commitment to upholding the ideals of freedom, democracy, justice, human rights, and the international rule of law. The U.S. and the rest of the international community have a moral and ethical obligation to stand with Cypriots to reunify their island and end the Turkish military occupation.
  • Cyprus's goal is the reunification of the island as a bicommunal and bizonal federation that will protect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all Cypriots, but also implement a prompt withdrawal of Turkish occupation forces. Cypriot President Demetris Christofias is committed to negotiating a just, viable solution to the Cyprus problem on the basis of U.N. Security Council Resolutions, the High Level Agreements of 1977 and 1979, as well as the values and principles on which the European Union was founded.
  • I urge my colleagues in the U.S. Congress to take note of the 34-year anniversary of the violent invasion that brutally divided the island nation of Cyprus, and to encourage Turkish Cypriot leaders to negotiate in good faith with their Greek Cypriot counterparts, settle this dispute, and develop a plan for reunification that addresses the serious concerns of all Cypriots. The reunification of the island nation remains a priority for this Congress and for the international community. On this anniversary of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, we mourn the deaths of those killed in the invasion and the lost opportunities for reunification over the years, and we look forward to a future of a reunited and peaceful Cyprus.