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Politics

Maloney Leads Hellenic Caucus Members in Letter to Biden Against Turkey’s Illegal Actions in Cyprus

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), co-chair and co-founder of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues, today led a group of bipartisan members of the Caucus in urging the Biden Administration “to speak out against the unilateral and illegal actions of the Republic of Turkey concerning the ‘reopening’ of Varosha on Cyprus.”

In their letter, the Members urge Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and President Biden to “treat Cyprus as a foreign policy priority.” Noting that, “We are committed to strengthening the United States’ alliance with Cyprus and supporting efforts in Congress to defend its stability and sovereignty. Preserving and strengthening our relations with Greece and Cyprus, and defending them from external threats, advances both the interests and values of the United States in the strategically critical Eastern Mediterranean.”

The Members also state, “The Republic of Turkey’s continuing unilateral actions on Cyprus makes a mockery of the rules-based international order that is crucial to maintaining global peace and prosperity, and which President Biden’s administration has consistently held up as vital to U.S. interests across the world.”

Joining the Congresswoman on the bipartisan letter are Representatives Gus M. Bilirakis (R-FL), Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Dina Titus (D-NV), Chris Pappas (D-NH), Michael Waltz (R-FL), John Sarbanes (D-MD), James P. McGovern (D-MA), Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), and Grace Meng (D-NY).

Full text of the letter is below and a PDF can be found online, shorturl.at/hjvAH.

Dear Secretary Blinken,

We urge you and President Biden to speak out against the unilateral and illegal actions of the Republic of Turkey concerning the “reopening” of Varosha on Cyprus. We also ask that you and President Biden take actions to express the United States’ firm opposition to these plans, and to emphasize the need to resolve this matter in accordance with existing international agreements, not in a unilateral fashion that will only inflame tensions on Cyprus.

On October 6, 2020, the Republic of Turkey unilaterally announced that they would be reopening Varosha to tourists and moving to begin resettlement. This move was made without consideration of the Republic of Cyprus or the displaced former residents of Varosha, which has remained abandoned since the Republic of Turkey’s unlawful invasion in 1974. That the same military which pressured Varosha’s residents into leaving are now presuming to unilaterally dictate who can return without adhering to prior U.N. guidance is unacceptable.

These actions by the Republic of Turkey and its military are in direct violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 550, which “considers attempts to settle any part of Varosha by people other than its inhabitants as inadmissible.” Such actions actively violate the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus and undermine future efforts to resolve the ongoing situation in Cyprus.

We urge you to treat Cyprus as a foreign policy priority. We are committed to strengthening the United States’ alliance with Cyprus and supporting efforts in Congress to defend its stability and sovereignty. Preserving and strengthening our relations with Greece and Cyprus, and defending them from external threats, advances both the interests and values of the United States in the strategically critical Eastern Mediterranean.

We are disappointed by press reports that indicated President Biden did not raise the issue of Cyprus and a restart of talks to end this crisis when he met with Turkish President Erdogan at the G7 summit earlier this month. Resolving this issue through clear and progressing dialogue toward a bi-communal and bi-zonal federation is in the best interests of the United States and the whole of the Eastern Mediterranean.

The Republic of Turkey’s continuing unilateral actions on Cyprus makes a mockery of the rules-based international order that is crucial to maintaining global peace and prosperity, and which President Biden’s administration has consistently held up as vital to U.S. interests across the world.

We urge you and President Biden to demonstrate that Cyprus is a foreign policy priority for the administration by speaking out forcefully against these illegal actions by the Republic of Turkey against the people and Republic of Cyprus. Thank you for your attention to this letter.

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