EMBASSY OF CYPRUS NEWSLETTER, WASHINGTON DC, September 6, 1995

Embassy of Cyprus
Press & Information Office
2211 R Street NW
Washington DC 20008
(202) 232-8993
(202) 234-1936 Fax

U.S. TO RENEW EFFORTS FOR CYPRUS SOLUTION

The Clinton Administration will soon be renewing efforts to end the current deadlock in U.N. talks on Cyprus.

The U.S. is determined to "continue its ongoing diplomacy and make renewed diplomatic efforts in the fall," President Bill Clinton said in his August 29 report to Congress covering Cyprus developments during June and July.

The effort will be spearheaded by the President's Special Emissary for Cyprus, Richard Beattie, who is expected to visit Cyprus in the fall. In a meeting in Ankara on September 6 which primarily dealt with Bosnia, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke and Turkish government officials also discussed the situation in Cyprus--a further indication of the importance the Clinton Administration places on ending the current impasse in U.N. talks. The most important recent development promoting the U.N. effort has been the decision, strongly supported by the United States, regarding Cyprus' membership in the European Union. In his report, Clinton emphasized that "there is general agreement that the recent decision by the European Union (EU) to begin discussion of Cyprus' accession to the E.U. could provide added motivation to the parties to achieve a settlement."

Conferring with leaders in the region, including Turkish Prime Minister Tansu Ciller, Greek Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou, Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides, and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, in August Senior Presidential Advisor George Stephanopoulos reiterated the strong American commitment to ending the division of Cyprus imposed by Turkey's force of arms. Emphasizing President Clinton's personal commitment to achieving a Cyprus settlement, Stephanopoulos said after his meeting with Clerides on August 22 that "everyone recognizes that the status quo is not acceptable and that we must continue to work for a solution . . . we have no intention of giving up."

The American effort will continue despite temporary setbacks, given the important role Cyprus plays in regional stability. "A solution to the Cyprus issue is in the strategic interests of the U.S. and NATO, and can be a key to reducing tension between Greece and Turkey in the Aegean and in the region," Stephanopoulos emphasized on August 28.

GREATER PRESSURE ON TURKEY NEEDED

While the Administration effort on Cyprus has broad, bipartisan Congressional support, many legislators believe that stronger measures against Ankara are needed to break the deadlock. Earlier this year the House of Representatives cut U.S. aid to Turkey, based on its human rights record and continuing military occupation of Cyprus. The Senate recently incorporated important language supporting the demilitarization of Cyprus in the foreign operations authorization bill, while the House International Relations Committee, with the strong support of Chairman Ben Gilman (R-NY), adopted legislation also calling for the withdrawal of Turkish occupation troops from Cyprus and endorsing demilitarization of the island.

"More must be done to pressure Turkey on the need to withdraw the Turkish army from Cyprus," Congressman Gilman said on August 31. In an address to the World Congress of Overseas Cypriots in Nicosia, Gilman also proposed a high-level meeting to remove the obstacles to progress. "Now is an appropriate time, after 21 long years" of occupation, to explore the possibility of convening a meeting of the leaders of the United States, Great Britain, Cyprus, Greece, and Turkey, he said.

The Cyprus government said Gilman's proposal merits further study, but added that without a change by the Turkish side on several key issues, including Turkey's occupation troops, any conference seeking to overcome the current deadlock is bound to fail.

"If Turkey insists on a military presence in Cyprus, then an international conference will not solve this problem," Clerides said on August 31, adding that "Turkey must realize that the international situation has changed and that it must shift its position to adjust to the new world order."

Given Turkey's intransigence, substantial progress cannot be achieved until the international community takes the measures necessary to ensure Turkish compliance with U.N. resolutions. The Security Council should "at long last demonstrate more determination and adopt urgent and decisive measures for the implementation of its own resolutions on Cyprus," President Clerides said on July 27.

Further Cuts in U.S. Aid to Turkey Possible

"Congress only becomes powerful with respect to money," Congressman Martin Hoke (R-OH) said in Nicosia on August 28, and "that's what will move Turkey." The importance of cutting aid is that it tells Ankara: "Look, we've had enough, we talked about [Cyprus] over and over, and this is not a new issue."

Echoing these sentiments, Congressman Robert Menendez (D-NJ) said in Nicosia on August 23 that the Turkish government must move beyond public expressions of support for the U.N. effort to "positive action," and he also warned that Congress will respond to continuing Turkish intransigence by cutting U.S. aid. Emphasizing the widespread support in Congress for an end to Turkey's occupation, he said Congress can use "its power to appropriate money . . . as a significant instrument to make sure that the expressed interest becomes a reality."

Although Menendez expressed his frustration that Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash had been completely inflexible, he stressed that "we must jettison the idea that Denktash and the Turkish government are two separate entities." Addressing the conference of overseas Cypriots in Nicosia on August 31, he added that much of the intransigence attributed to Denktash in fact originates in Ankara. Regarding Turkey's occupation troops, he said the "key" in Ankara to promoting a solution is that "which opens the Turkish door to take back the 35,000 troops occupying northern Cyprus." Hoke and Menendez were among four House members who traveled to Cyprus in August to take a firsthand look at the situation. Also in August, a group of House and Senate staff members met with President Clerides during their visit to Cyprus and Greece.

Military Provocations Undermine U.N. Effort

Far from withdrawing the occupation troops, Ankara appears intent on escalating military tensions on Cyprus. On August 23 two Turkish reconnaissance aircraft violated Cyprus' airspace, the latest of several recent Turkish military provocations undermining efforts for a resumption of U.N. talks.

In a protest to the U.N. Secretary-General on August 25, the Cyprus government called the overflights further proof of Turkey's blatant disregard for the territorial integrity of its neighbors, as well as its continued disregard for U.N. resolutions and the U.N. Charter.

This new violation follows recent Turkish construction along the demilitarized zone in occupied Nicosia--a development which may violate the 1989 U.N. "unmanning" agreement. After U.N. officials toured the Roccas Bastion, as the area under construction is called, Secretary-General Ghali wrote to the Security Council on July 25 that the construction--which occupation authorities claim is to build a playground--"appears unnecessarily elaborate and costly for its stated purpose."

Promising that U.N. officials would continue to monitor construction activity in the area, Ghali reminded the Council that the construction "is in a particularly sensitive location in Nicosia . . . It was for this reason that the Bastion was included in the 1989 unmanning agreement."

In 1993 President Clerides proposed the complete demilitarization of the Republic of Cyprus as a means to satisfy the security concerns of all Cypriots. The disbanding of the Cyprus National Guard would be contingent on the withdrawal of Turkey's military forces from the occupied area--an area the U.N. Secretary-General recently described as "one of the most highly militarized areas in the world."

Clerides said on August 14 that he is prepared to discuss a partial withdrawal of Turkish occupation forces, as well as steps to reduce the government's defense expenditures, provided the partial withdrawal "is part of a specific timetable for the complete demilitarization of Cyprus."

"We want to end the Turkish occupation of Cyprus and not prolong it with fewer troops," Cyprus Foreign Minister Alecos Michaelides said on August 28, in emphasizing the importance of the withdrawal of all occupation troops. "There can be no security in Cyprus unless Turkish troops and settlers leave and we implement effective guarantees for the Republic's security along with complete demilitarization of the island," he added.

``ETHNIC CLEANSING'' IN OCCUPIED AREAS CONTINUES

"The enclaved in northern Cyprus are forced to live under the kinds of extreme restrictions that were once the hallmarks of totalitarian states," U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) told the Senate on August 11.

"Clearly these severe human rights abuses are intended to achieve the complete ethnic cleansing of northern Cyprus through means just short of physical expulsion," Snowe said in submitting, on behalf of herself and Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), the "Freedom and Human Rights for the Enclaved People of Cyprus Act" (S.1200). The act is meant to end "severe human rights restrictions" of the Greek Cypriots remaining in the Turkish occupied areas, including:

  • restriction on freedom of worship;
  • prohibition on personal telephones;
  • denial of freedom of movement;
  • violation of property rights;
  • mail censorship; and
  • physical abuse, including beatings, rape and murder.

On August 4 Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) introduced similar legislation in the House (H.R. 2223) on behalf of herself and Congressmen Eliot Engel (D-NY), Robert Torricelli (D-NJ), John Porter (R-IL) and Michael Bilirakis (R-FL).

Representatives Bilirakis and Martin Hoke (R-OH) visited Greek Cypriots in the occupied Karpass Peninsula on August 29, and Bilirakis called the trip--the first time Turkish occupation authorities have allowed members of Congress to meet with the enclaved--"very valuable." He said that the living conditions of the enclaved Greek Cypriots--without jobs, educational opportunities, medical care or protection--make them clear examples of Turkey's gross human rights violations in Cyprus.

Status of Enclaved Violates Vienna Agreement Although the rights of the enclaved are protected by the 1975 Third Vienna Agreement, which states "that the Greek Cypriots at present in the north are free to stay and that they will be given every help to lead a normal life," a recent U.N. report paints a far different picture of their fate.
"Far from being `normal' the life available to Greek Cypriots who elect to remain in the northern part of Cyprus is, as it has been since 1974, highly abnormal," according to the report, prepared by the U.N. Peace-keeping Forces in Cyprus (UNFICYP). Though not yet public, portions of the March 31 report have been published in the Cypriot press.
Although more than 20,000 Greek Cypriots remained in the occupied area after Turkey's 1974 invasion, most have left as a result of a systematic campaign of harassment by the occupation authorities. Today less than 600 Greek Cypriots remain in a handful of enclaves.

REFUGEES DEMAND TO RETURN HOME

During late July and August protests throughout the free areas of Cyprus marked 21 years since Turkey's 1974 invasion and demanded that Ankara end its illegal occupation of 37% of the island.

Turkish occupation forces violently attacked protesters attempting to enter the occupied areas on August 6, an action strongly condemned by Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides, who stressed that the U.N. resolutions affirm the right of the refugees to return to their homes under conditions of safety.

The Cyprus government seeks "to free Cyprus from Turkish occupation troops and illegal Turkish settlers, safeguard human rights and fundamental freedoms and allow the refugees to return to their homes," he told a rally on August 12.

Only a settlement based on the U.N. resolutions, he continued, can ensure that Cyprus will be reunited, that Turkish troops and illegal settlers will leave, and that Cyprus's territorial integrity will be preserved.

In Nicosia Greek Cypriots delivered a petition to the embassies of the five permanent Security Council members, calling on them to "intervene, as your have already done in other countries, so that justice can be restored in Cyprus." Participating in the protests were several foreign dignitaries, including parliamentarians from Great Britain and the European Parliament.

IN BRIEF . . .

During late July and August protests throughout the free areas of Cyprus marked 21 years since Turkey's invasion and demanded that Ankara end its illegal occupation of 37% of the island. Turkish occupation forces violently attacked protesters on August 6, an action strongly condemned by Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides, who stressed that the U.N. resolutions affirm the right of the refugees to return to their homes under conditions of safety. He told a rally on August 12 that the government seeks "to free Cyprus from Turkish occupation troops and illegal Turkish settlers, safeguard human rights and fundamental freedoms and allow the refugees to return to their homes."

On August 21 U.S. Embassy Charge D'affaires Alejandro Wolf called on Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides to express the U.S. "government's profound gratitude for the cooperation and support" received from the Republic of Cyprus after the August 15 crash of a U.S. helicopter off the coast of Cyprus. The Cyprus government expressed its condolences to the families of the four servicemen in the "Black Hawk," who died while delivering mail and other supplies to the U.S. Embassy in Beirut. Since 1987 a U.S.-Cyprus agreement allows the use of Cyprus as a transfer point for the ferrying of supplies to the American Embassy in Lebanon.

In a letter to U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke on August 24, President Clerides also conveyed his deep condolences over the deaths of three U.S. diplomats killed in an accident near Sarajevo while promoting U.S. peace efforts in Bosnia.

The recently-appointed director of the U.S. Missing Persons Investigation, Ambassador Robert Dillon, stressed in Nicosia on August 31 that the American investigation on the missing begin will soon and should last approximately six months. He added that "we will concentrate our efforts on determining the fate of the five U.S. citizens missing since 1974 and that was made clear to the Turkish Cypriot side as well." The five Americans are part of the 1,619 persons missing since Turkey's invasion of Cyprus.

Cyprus Ambassador Andrew Jacovides analyzed the dimensions of the Cyprus problem in an address at Brigham Young University's Kennedy Center for International Studies on July 27. The Turkish side will continue to resist reaching a negotiated settlement, Jacovides said, "unless the factors that sustain Turkish intransigence are removed. Primary among these is the continuing presence and overwhelming military strength of the Turkish occupation troops on the island." He emphasized that President Clerides' proposal for the complete demilitarization of the Republic of Cyprus will not only meet "perceived Turkish security concerns, as indeed the much more real security concerns of the Republic of Cyprus," but would also substantially enhance prospects for an overall Cyprus settlement.

The World Congress of Overseas Cypriots on September 1 called on the U.N. and U.S. to pressure Turkey to comply with the U.N. resolutions on Cyprus. A joint resolution, adopted by the International Coordinating Committee-Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA) and the World Federation of Overseas Cypriots (POMAK), also expressed "bitterness and disappointment" that neither the U.N. nor the U.S have "exerted any substantial pressure on Turkey to force it to comply with the U.N. resolutions." Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and foreign dignitaries, including U.S. Presidential Advisor George Stephanopoulos, the Greek deputy foreign minister, several members of the U.S. Congress, and parliamentarians from Great Britain and Australia addressed the five-day conference. At its conclusion Philip Christopher was reelected president of PSEKA, while George Christophides was elected president of POMAK.

 


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