• US Congress calls on Turkey to halt looting of occupied Cyprus • After 36 years Turkey continues to violate human rights of Cypriots • Do not sacrifice Cyprus for accord with Turkey • US politician warns Turkish ambassador
Photo: The looted church of Saint Irene Kyrenia district, occupied Cyprus ©Aspects of Cyprus
US Congress calls on Turkey to halt looting of occupied Cyprus
The US Congress House of Representatives recently passed a resolution calling on Turkey and all other countries to restore religious property confiscated and looted by Turkey in its illegal occupation of Cyprus. House Resolution 1631 “urged the Government of Turkey to immediately implement the United Nations Security Council Resolutions relevant to Cyprus, as well as all judgements of the European Court of Human Rights” and issued a specific request concerning the retrieval and restoration of all lost artifacts and to halt destruction on religious sites, illegal archeological excavations and the traffic in icons and antiquities.
After 36 years Turkey continues to violate human rights of Cypriots
“For more than 36 years, the human rights and fundamental freedoms of the people of Cyprus have been violated as a result of the Turkish invasion of 1974 and the continuous military occupation of more than one-third of the island” said Kathryn Cameron Porter, founder and President of the Leadership Council for Human Rights, on Human Rights Day, 10 December 2010. She went on to note that “prior to the invasion, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots had coexisted peacefully for centuries. However, with the 1974 invasion, which was in violation of all rules of international legality, including the United Nations Charter, Turkey proceeded to occupy the northern part of the island and expel nearly all Greek Cypriot inhabitants from that region.” Noting that Turkey continues to pursue a policy on importing Anatolian peasants in the occupied area in an effort to change the demographic composition of the island, Porter said “The transfer of people by an occupying power of its own population to the area it occupies is considered a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions.” The Illegal colonists, she noted “now outnumber Turkish Cypriots by almost two to one.”
Do not sacrifice Cyprus for accord with Turkey
“It would be wrong to adopt the cynical approach of using Cyprus as a convenient sacrificial pawn to ease overall tensions with Ankara. Such a move would betray important Western values and, in the long run, likely undermine important Western interests. The tepid reaction over the decades by Washington and its democratic allies to Ankara’s rogue conduct on the Cyprus issue is troubling. Those countries should not further reward Turkey’s aggression by making the division of Cyprus permanent” said Dr Ted Galen Carpenter, Vice-president for Defense and Foreign Policy Studies at the Cato Institute US think tank, taking issue with recent comments by Jack Straw, former UK Foreign Secretary, who suggested making permanent the illegally occupied north of Cyprus.
US politician warns Turkish ambassador
In a meeting with the Turkish Ambassador to Washington, Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who will become Chairman of the influential House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee in the new US Congress told the ambassador “I am deeply concerned about Turkey’s position on the conflict in Cyprus, which has divided that country for almost four decades. Turkey must fully support a Cypriot solution to reunification of the island and immediately withdraw its troops from northern Cyprus,” her statement to the press reported. After expressing her views also about restrictions on the Ecumenical Patriarchate (Greek Orthodox church in Turkey), reopening of the Halki Seminary which was forced to close in 1971 and the removal of restrictive criteria for Patriarchal succession, Ros-Lehtinin stated “these are issues which must be addressed soon if we are to avoid permanent damage to our relationship.”