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AHI Letter Responds to New York Times Editorial
April 27, 2004—No.34 (202) 785-8430

AHI Letter Responds to New York Times Editorial

WASHINGTON, DC—On April 27, 2004, AHI President, Gene Rossides, submitted a letter to the editor responding to a New York Timeseditorial titled, "A Destructive Vote in Cyprus" (April 27, 2004; Page A24). The text of the letter appears below, followed by the New York Timeseditorial to which the letter responds.

April 27, 2004

Letters to the Editor
The New York Times
229 West 43rd Street
New York, NY 10036

To the Editor:

The editorial (4-27-04) on the UN plan for Cyprus misses the mark. The Greek Cypriot vote of 75.9 percent against the plan was a vote for the rule of law which that plan violated on a number of key points.

The UN plan wiped out Turkey’s brutal aggression in 1974 which violated the UN Charter. The European Commission on Human Rights found Turkey guilty of the "killing of innocent civilians. . .on a substantial scale. . .the rape of women of all ages from 12 to 71," and "creating more than 170,000 Greek Cypriot refugees."

The UN plan allows most of the 100,000 illegal Turkish colonists to remain in violation of the Geneva Convention which prohibits colonization by the occupying power. It allows a number of Turkish troops to remain with the right of intervention. It penalizes the Greek Cypriot property owners and perpetuates ethnic divisions. The double standard on the rule of law for Turkey is harmful to U.S. interests.

The Greek Cypriot vote was not "destructive" as asserted. It was a vote for the rule of law and a functional and viable solution. It was a vote against rewarding the Turkish aggressor and punishing the Greek Cypriot victims. That vote made Cyprus the conscience of the West on the rule of law.

Gene Rossides,
President, American
Hellenic Institute and
former Assistant Secretary
of the Treasury

The New York Times

A Destructive Vote in Cyprus

Tuesday, April 27, 2004; Page A24

The overwhelming vote by Greek Cypriots on Saturday to reject the United Nations' reunification plan for their divided island was destructive but hardly a surprise. The Greek majority on Cyprus had made no secret of its distaste for the plan, largely because of limits on the number of Greeks who would be able to reclaim the property they lost when Turkey invaded the northern part of the island in 1974. The United States and the European Union had hoped they could overcome that resistance through political pressure. But the hard fact is that the Greek Cypriots knew their government would be joining the E.U. on May 1 as "Cyprus," with or without a deal with the Turkish north. The only way to restore any chance for reunification now is for the E.U. and the United States to get tough, by lifting economic sanctions on the Turkish north and sharply limiting aid to the Greek south.

Both Turkey and Greece supported the efforts of the U.N. secretary general, Kofi Annan, to forge a compromise; Turkey's prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was especially courageous. But the reactionary leaders of both sides of the island campaigned hard against the U.N. plan, and Mr. Annan couldn't overcome the Greek Cypriots' conviction that they had no need to give away so much. Under the Annan plan, the share of the land held by the Turks, less than 20 percent of the island's population, would drop, but would still be 29 percent.

Among Turkish Cypriots, who have endured international isolation for 30 years, 65 percent voted in favor. Seventy-five percent of the Greek Cypriots voted against. The size of the Greek vote suggests that it would be futile to hold another referendum soon. But the E.U., the U.N. and the United States cannot call it quits. With Turkey knocking at Europe's door, the division of Cyprus cannot be left to fester. That means promptly ending the Turkish north's economic isolation and expediting the money promised to the north in the event of unification. And the E.U. should sharply cut aid to the south. That will keep the Turkish Cypriots interested in reunification, while sending a clear signal to Greek Cypriots that the world does not tolerate open-ended feuds.


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