[MGSA-L] SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN MENENDEZ BLASTS TURKEY’S TREATMENT OF CYPRUS ON US SENATE FLOOR
june.samaras at gmail.com
Wed Dec 17 22:00:28 PST 2014
SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN MENENDEZ BLASTS TURKEY’S
TREATMENT OF CYPRUS ON US SENATE FLOOR
Posted on December 17, 2014 by Hellenic News in Latest Important News
To view a video of these remarks click here.
Below is the full text of these remarks:
“This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Turkish invasion. We hoped
that it would have brought a fair settlement to the Cyprus question, that
it would have brought an end to 40 year long occupation and division of the
island by Turkey. There is always cause for optimism and room for faith
that the realization of a reunified Cyprus is in the near future.
“Global and regional dynamics have made the reunification of Cyprus a
priority — driven, in part, by Cyprus’ newly found energy resources. This
is particularly true in light of Russia’s Machiavellian-like power plays in
central Europe that have placed Cyprus and Israel at the forefront of the
discussion of European energy security. The natural resources that have
been discovered this year in the Eastern Mediterranean offer both Greek and
Turkish Cypriots alike a powerful incentive to reach an agreement — and if
an agreement could be reached, Cyprus could play a pivotal role in regional
“But the dynamics have again changed — which is why I rise today to express
my grave concern over the Republic of Turkey’s incursion into Cyprus’
Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). On October 20th, Turkey sent a research
vessel, the Barbaros, into Cyprus’s Exclusive Economic Zone — to stop the
government of Cyprus from exercising its lawful and sovereign right to
explore the natural gas within its Exclusive Economic Zone.
“In the days following, Turkey dispatched warships to support the Barbaros
in its illegal activities, where they remain to this day.
“This incident is merely the latest in a long series of violations on the
part of Turkey against Cyprus’ sovereign right to explore and exploit its
natural resources within its own Exclusive Economic Zone. Turkey, of
course, also illegally occupies with 40,000 Turkish troops the northern
portion of the island and has for forty years prevented any meaningful
“This map from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows
the position of the Turkish ships in red. They are sitting between the
island of Cyprus and its own ships in its own EEZ.
“Mr. President, there is no doubt in my mind that Turkey’s actions have
endangered peace talks between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots that began in
February with a joint-communique issued by the two communities. That
communique committed to finding a durable solution based on a bi-zonal,
bi-communal federation with political equality. But, because of Turkey’s
bullying tactics, peace talks are now on hold.
“For peace talks to resume, Turkey must immediately withdraw its ships
operating in and around Cyprus. The international community has been
abundantly clear in supporting Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades in
recognizing Cyprus’s right to explore the resources within its Economic
Zone and in condemning Turkey for this blatant violation.
“On November 13, The European Parliament adopted a resolution strongly
condemning Turkey’s “illegal and provocative actions” in Cyprus, stressing
that “the Republic of Cyprus has the full and sovereign right to explore
the natural resources within its EEZ.”
“Turkey’s recent actions in Cyprus are only one instance of its belligerent
and bellicose rhetoric and backsliding on peace and democracy.
“In recent weeks, President Erdoğan and his cabinet have used unusually
belligerent and anti-Western rhetoric to attack the West.
“He actually said — and, Mr. President, I am amazed at this rhetoric:
“Americans look like friends but they want us dead — they like seeing our
“He also said: “Women are not equal to men. Our religion has defined a
position for women: motherhood,” Erdoğan, said at a summit in Istanbul on
justice for women. He went on to say: “Some people can understand this,
while others can’t. You cannot explain this to feminists because they don’t
accept the concept of motherhood.”
“He even went so far as to say that Muslims discovered America not
Columbus. He has vowed to make lessons in the Arabic-alphabet Ottoman
language compulsory in high schools — a highly symbolic move which enraged
secularists who claim he is pursuing an increasingly extremist agenda.
“These statements — along with Turkey’s illegal actions in Cyprus’s
Exclusive Economic Zone — are a dramatic escalation of Turkey shifting away
from democracy and its partners in the West. And — in my view — it requires
an immediate and forceful response.
“The Cypriot people need a strong voice on this issue. They need us to urge
President Erdoğan to immediately withdraw from Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic
Zone so reunification talks can resume.
“Cyprus’ leaders deserve credit for trying to change dynamics and return to
talks. They also deserve credit for being an ally and advocate of American
interests. Cyprus’ active role in supporting counter-terrorism efforts,
terror financing, and in the removal of chemical weapons from Syria have
not gone unnoticed.
“Cyprus is clearly positioning itself as a part of the western security
architecture and is a resource, advocate, and an ally for our interests.
These developments have led the White House to play an active role on
behalf of Cyprus. And I was very pleased by my former colleague, Vice
President Biden’s visit in May and his commitment to resolving the Cyprus
“I share his support for the confidence building measures in Famagusta that
would benefit both sides and accelerate progress towards a final settlement
where Cypriots control their destiny, and their territory — and where, at
the end of the day, any settlement is from the people of Cyprus, by the
people of Cyprus, for the people of Cyprus and Cyprus alone.
“To that end, I recently sent a letter to President Obama urging his
continued engagement on the issue of reunification of the island and the
restoration of human rights for all its citizens. I also wrote to
Ambassador Power — urging her active involvement in the extension of the
island’s UN Peacekeeping operation — and I was pleased when the extension
was formalized at the end of July.
“I hope that President Erdoğan now that his election is behind him, will
use this opportunity to play a renewed role in finding a fair settlement.
We all appreciate that any progress will depend on a true commitment by the
Turks to the peace process.
“Today, I assure you, as Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, that
the United States is committed to supporting Cyprus as a friend and ally.
“So, as we mark the 40th year of a divided Cyprus, let us hope and pray
that a fair and mutually beneficial settlement will be reached very soon
and that, once again, the island will be united.
“Thank you very much.”
2020 Old Station Rd
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E-mail : june.samaras at gmail.com
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