AHEPA Calls for Removal of Turkish Troops from Cyprus; Movement on Confidence-Building Measures
DC - Supreme President Anthony Kouzounis issued the following statement
on the 40th anniversary of the illegal invasion and subsequent
occupation of the Republic of Cyprus by Turkey that occurred July 20,
"Today we ask, 'How long?' as we mark a somber
day-the 40th anniversary of the illegal invasion and occupation of the
Republic of Cyprus by the Republic of Turkey. This was, and remains to
this very day, an intolerable act; one that is a gross violation of the
rule of law, human rights, and democratic ideals. We pause to remember
the innocent civilians who lost their lives and the thousands who went
missing, including four American citizens whose investigations remain
incomplete. The illegal invasion and occupation caused the displacement
of 170,000 Greek Cypriot refugees who to this day are unable to return
to their homes which is also a violation of human rights as determined
by the European Commission on Human Rights. Moreover, Turkey's
restrictions upon religious freedom and destruction of Cyprus' cultural
and religious heritage in Turkish-occupied Cyprus have been
well-documented by the U.S. Helsinki Commission, the Law Library of
Congress, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, and
several media publications.
"In February, the Republic
of Cyprus and the Turkish Cypriots agreed to a Joint Declaration that
provided the foundation for the resumption of settlement talks. Included
in the declaration was a commitment 'to efforts to implement confidence
building measures that will provide a dynamic impetus to the prospect
for a united Cyprus.' Unfortunately, after a promising start, the return
of Famagusta or movement on other confidence-building measures has
stalled, demonstrating Turkey's intransigence. We hope that
bridge-building measures such as the Good Friday service that brought
Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots together can serve as an inspiration
"We vigorously applaud the recent
high-level engagement by United States government officials with the
Republic of Cyprus, including Vice President Joe Biden's historic May
visit and subsequent engagement by the vice president and U.S.
Department of State and U.S. Department of Defense officials. We also
laud the bipartisan action taken this week by U.S. Senator Robert
Menendez, who chairs the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and U.S.
Representative Ed Royce, who chairs the House Committee on Foreign
Affairs. Together, they urged the Obama administration to increase
attention to the goal of reunifying Cyprus in a joint letter.
the key to a successful settlement rests in Ankara. We once again call
on the U.S. government, as we do every year at this time, to convey a
strong message to Turkey that it must provide the Turkish Cypriot
community with the necessary freedom to negotiate a solution within the
United Nations framework, and equally as important, that Turkey must
play a constructive role in the movement of confidence-building measures
and facilitate the removal of 40,000 of its troops from the island.
Thus, on this somber anniversary, we again call on Turkey to begin the
removal of its troops from Cyprus. These are troops that we contend
would serve a better purpose, especially to NATO, in another theatre, as
opposed to Cyprus, where there have been more than 17 million
incident-free crossings by Greek and Turkish Cypriots.
we restate our call for a reunified Cyprus with a single sovereignty,
single international personality and single citizenship; and with its
independence and territorial integrity safeguarded as described in the
relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions. We contend that such a
solution is in the best interest of all Cypriots, and must emanate from
Cypriots themselves without arbitrary timetables.
call for these actions in the best interests of the United States. A
just and viable solution to the division of Cyprus will strengthen the
eastern Mediterranean and bring peace and security to the region. This
is especially important with the discovery of hydrocarbon reserves
within the exclusive economic zones of the Republic of Cyprus and Israel
by a U.S. energy firm. Furthermore, a just and viable solution will aid
Turkey's candidacy to become a member of the European Union.
we say 40 years is too long. Our hope is that we will no longer need to
observe this 'black anniversary,' but instead, celebrate the
anniversary of a settlement. AHEPA remains committed to doing all within
its power to keep the Cyprus issue in the public eye until a just and
viable solution that benefits all Cypriots is realized."
AHEPA to Mark Anniversary at Supreme Convention
will remember the victims of Turkey's illegal invasion of the Republic
of Cyprus with a Moment of Silence at the Opening Ceremony of its 92nd
Annual Supreme Convention which will be held July 21, 2014. Also during
the convention, AHEPA will host AHI Founder Eugene Rossides, a Life
Member of AHEPA, for a presentation on his new book, "Kissinger
& Cyprus: A Study in Lawlessness," on July 24, 2014.
proudly participated at a "Rally for Cyprus" on Capitol Hill organized
by PSEKA that marked the 40th anniversary of the Turkish invasion of the
Republic of Cyprus, July 16, 2014. AHEPA Chairman of the Board and Past
Supreme President Nicholas Karacostas, a refugee from Cyprus, and
Executive Director Basil Mossaidis, represented AHEPA on behalf of
Supreme President Anthony Kouzounis. Several Ahepans also participated
as representatives of other Hellenic or Diaspora organizations. Philip
Christopher, president, PSEKA, is also an AHEPA member and special
advisor on Cyprus to the AHEPA National Cyprus & Hellenic
"We congratulate PSEKA for
organizing an outstanding public awareness and advocacy event,"
Kouzounis added. "We pledge to continue to work with all organizations
to ensure the Cyprus issue remains visible and that a just and viable
solution for Cyprus and all Cypriots becomes reality."
in 1922 in Atlanta, Georgia, to protect individuals from the evils of
bigotry and discrimination, AHEPA is the largest and oldest grassroots
association of American citizens of Greek heritage and Philhellenes with
more than 400 chapters across the United States, Canada, and Europe.
The mission of AHEPA is to promote the ancient Greek ideals of
Education, Philanthropy, Civic Responsibility, and Family and Individual
Excellence through community service and volunteerism.
For more information about AHEPA or how to join, please visit ahepa.org or contact AHEPA Headquarters, 202-232-6300.