October 2-9, 2000
Correspondence; p. 3
U.S. Policy Toward Cyprus Needs to Be Changed
Ahmet Erdengiz repeats the fiction of a "campaign of extermination" against Turkish Cypriots, which was used by Turkey as a pretext to launch its 1974 invasion of Cyprus [Fair Comment, Feb. 7]. This disinformation has been categorically refuted by impartial sources, such as the UN secretary- general's report which confirms that hostilities between extremists of both communities in 1963 and 1964 resulted in a total of 43 Greek Cypriots and 232 Turkish Cypriots missing.
Erdengiz omits the fact that it is the Greek Cypriot community that bore the lion's share of violence on Cyprus. Four times as many Greek Cypriots (more than 6,000) were killed by Turkish troops as Albanians were killed in Kosovo prior to NATO's intervention. In addition, 200,000 Greek Cypriots were ethnically cleansed from the occupied north. Yet Serbia was bombed back to the Stone Age, while Turkey's occupation of Cyprus continues to enjoy tacit US support.
Most troubling for the future of Cyprus is Erdengiz's apartheidlike creed that Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots will never be able to live together. In fact they peacefully co-existed for centuries until Britain instituted a policy of arming Turkish separatists and encouraging Greco-Turkish conflict to facilitate its control over Cyprus and prevent this overwhelmingly Greek island-nation from achieving self-determination.
A recent mobilization by Turkish Cypriots to find a blood donor for a 6-year-old Greek Cypriot boy with leukemia further underscores the speciousness of the myth, propagated for the very purpose of keeping Cyprus divided, that both communities are somehow inherently incapable of living together.
Turkey's occupation regime has trapped Turkish Cypriots in a political and economic black hole, all the while importing Turks from the depths of Anatolia to wrest control from Cyprus' native Turkish population. As a result, as many as half of all Turkish Cypriots have fled their own homeland in search of greater economic and political freedom elsewhere, including in the south of Cyprus. An increasing number of Turkish Cypriots realize that the future of a prosperous Cyprus is a united one without Turkish troops.
Cyprus is Berlin all over again, with one difference: Rather than taking the side of democratic governments and pluralistic societies, our own government has decided to ratify invasion, occupation and transnational aggression to sustain an alliance of increasingly questionable value.
Matthew J. Stowell
American Hellenic Media Project
New York City