GR US

AHI Outraged over Turkey’s Illegal Reopening of Varosha

Αssociated Press

Greek Cypriots hold a banner during a protest against the opening to the public of a stretch of beach in uninhabited Varosha, a suburb of Famagusta in the breakaway Turkish Cypriot north of war-divided Cyprus, during a demonstration at a crossing point in the village of Dherynia on Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

WASHINGTON, DC – In a letter dated October 12, American Hellenic Institute (AHI) President Nick Larigakis wrote to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to express the Institute’s outrage over Turkey’s illegal reopening of the beach in Varosha.

“This area is the fenced-in area of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus which Turkey has occupied since it unlawfully invaded the Republic of Cyprus in 1974,” Larigakis writes. “This action violates United Nations resolutions, and international treaties to which the U.S. and Turkey are signatories.  It also demonstrates that President Erdogan has no intention of resuming serious settlement talks, for which the United States has affirmed its full support, as Secretary Pompeo recently did during his visit to Cyprus in September.”

The letter cites the UN Security Council resolutions Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan violates with this act as well as his defiance of a European Parliament Written Declaration in 2012.

President Larigakis also welcomes an October 9 statement issued by the U.S. Embassy in Nicosia. However, Larigakis contends the statement does not demand that Turkey cease this action.

“It is imperative that the United States strongly object to Turkey’s illegal action and demand that the Turkish government prohibit anyone from occupying and using this area,” Larigakis writes.

The text of the letter follows:

Dear Mr. Secretary:

On behalf of the nationwide membership of the American Hellenic Institute (AHI), I write to express our outrage over Turkey's illegal reopening of the beach in Varosha. This area is the fenced-in area of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus which Turkey has occupied since it unlawfully invaded the Republic of Cyprus in 1974. This action violates United Nations resolutions, and international treaties to which the U.S. and Turkey are signatories. It also demonstrates that President Erdogan has no intention of resuming serious settlement talks, for which the United States has affirmed its full support.

In particular, President Erdogan violates UN Security Council resolutions 550 (1984) and 789 (1992) that address the transfer of this area to the United Nations and the 1979 High Level Agreement between the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities that stated that priority should be given to the resettlement of Famagusta, of which Varosha is a subdivision, under the UN auspices.

Furthermore, with this action, Turkey defies a European Parliament Written Declaration in 2012, which called on the government of Turkey to act according to UN Security Council Resolutions and previous European Parliament Legislative Committee reports and return the Famagusta sealed-off section to its lawful inhabitants.

The October 9, 2020 statement issued by the U.S. Embassy in Nicosia is welcomed but does not demand that Turkey cease this action. During your visit to the Republic of Cyprus, you stated that the United States is "deeply concerned" about Turkey's actions in the Eastern Mediterranean. Moreover, if the United States stands by its previous statements of support for a "comprehensive settlement to reunify the island as a bizonal, bicommunal federation, which would benefit all Cypriots as well as the wider region," then it is imperative that the United States strongly object to Turkey's illegal action and demand that the Turkish government prohibit anyone from occupying and using this area. Turkey continues to test the resolve of the international community and the rule of law and must be held accountable.

Respectfully submitted,

Nick Larigakis President

More information is available online: www.ahiworld.org.