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AHI Board Member Addresses Nicosia Ceremony Marking 42nd Anniversary of Turkish Invasion of Cyprus
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Georgea Polizos
July 29, 2016—No. 34 (202) 785-8430

AHI Board Member Addresses Nicosia Ceremony Marking 42nd Anniversary of Turkish Invasion of Cyprus

WASHINGTON, DC — American Hellenic Institute (AHI) Board Member, and AHI Foundation Fellow, Dr. Van Coufoudakis addressed a commemorative ceremony for the 42nd anniversary of the Turkish invasion and continuing occupation of 37 percent of the Republic of Cyprus, July 18, 2016. The ceremony took place near the Ledra Palace crossing in Lefkosia.

In his remarks, Dr. Coufoudakis told the audience their presence at this symbolic moment of the Republic proved the Republic of Cyprus was not “defunct” as Turkey claims, but rather, democracy in Turkey is defunct given the aftermath of recent developments in that country.

Dr. Coufoudakis also dismissed the notion of “lost opportunities” as he reviewed the history of UN-sponsored talks for a resolution of the “Cyprus problem.” The lost opportunities were those aiming to destroy the Republic of Cyprus, as in the case of the Acheson Plan in 1964, and other plans that culminated in the “Annan Plan,” which Greek Cypriots overwhelmingly rejected in 2004.

Additionally, Dr. Coufoudakis spoke about the monuments in the Cypriot capital that document Cypriot struggles before and after independence, and he concluded that Cypriots cannot betray their proud heritage. He stressed that Greek Cypriots support the reunification of their country under a functional, democratic, rule of law solution that conforms with fundamental principles of European law; ends the Turkish occupation; stops the influx of illegal settlers who have changed the social, cultural and demographic profile of the country; and protects human rights without discrimination based on ethnicity, language and religion. Dr. Coufoudakis also addressed Turkey's continuing military threats and claims to the Republic's hydrocarbon resources. He called for unity among Greek Cypriots and reminded them the Republic of Cyprus is the only internationally recognized state and government on the island. It is also a member of the UN, the EU and other major international organizations, while the “authorities” of occupied Cyprus are nothing more than a “subordinate local administration” of the Turkish Army, according to the European Court. Greek Cypriots will ultimately be responsible to protect their heritage and their future by voting in another democratic referendum on any resolution plan that may emerge from the UN sponsored talks, he added.

The commemorative event honored those who lost their lives protecting the rights of Cypriot Hellenism and the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of the Republic of Cyprus. It also honored those still missing and the pain felt by their families in view of the recent revelations about their fate. Finally, the event honored those “enclaved” in occupied Cyprus and the hardships they have endured since 1974.

The commemorative ceremony was well-attended and closed with a short musical program.  Also in attendance were various Cypriot political leaders.

The American Hellenic Institute is a 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.

 

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