Please find below:

(1) A letter from the American Hellenic Media Project as published by The Wall Street Journal on April 10, 1998; and

(2) The article responded to.




April 10, 1998


Unhappy Cyprus Is Still Divided

Your editorial gets the issues wrong. The attempted coup by the U.S.-installed and backed military junta in Greece failed and was never a threat to Islamic Cypriotes. Nevertheless, the coup was used by the Turks as an excuse to invade, not just once but twice. With more than 35,000 Turkish troops still occupying Cyprusófar outnumbering the troops in the free Republic of Cyprusódoes it not stand to reason that the Cypriot Greeks have sought missiles for defense purposes?

Why should the Cypriot government be expected to negotiate with an illegal occupying force? What other country would be expected to do so? Turkey, with one of the worst human rights records on earth, does not need encouragement in its intent to annex part of an ancient Greek island it has illegally invaded.

Associate Director
American Hellenic Media Project
New York



REVIEW & OUTLOOK (Editorial)

Cypriot Woes


The Wall Street Journal

Clinton Administration envoy Richard Holbrooke is in Cyprus today, trying to undo the vast damage done this week by the European Union to that troubled island's "peace process." To make matters worse, Mr. Holbrooke arrives with a peace plan whose moment, if it ever had one, has passed. That plan, long a staple of official U.S. government policy, is to end the 23-year division of Cyprus by creating a "bizonal federation" between Greek and Turkish enclaves.

The West's approach to Cyprus has long been based on the fantasy that unification is both feasible and desirable. This system was tried between 1960 and 1974, worked badly, and ended in disaster after a Greek military junta tried to seize the whole island for Greece, prompting a Turkish invasion. Since then the West refuses to recognize the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, choosing instead to view the Greek Cypriot government as the sole legitimate authority on the island.

Such one-sidedness helps explain the reluctance of Turkish Cypriots to enter into negotiations whose goal is the dissolution of their state. They were hardly mollified by the EU's decision to put Cyprus on its fast-track membership list (just months after gratuitously snubbing Turkey's application). Add to this explosive cocktail Greek purchases of advanced Russian missiles for installation in Cyprus, and what you get are the makings of the most serious crisis in the Aegean in years.

The pity to all this is that as recently as a month ago the prospects for a settlement in Cyprus looked relatively good with both Greek and Turk Cypriots ruled by reasonable men who have shown a willingness to compromise. Unlike other troubled corners of the world, Cyprus's problems are not intractable: Greeks and Turks stick to their side of the dividing line so a potential settlement might involve property restitution, but there are no Bosnia-style ethnic issues. Indeed, absent the provocations of the outside world, the players in Cyprus could come to an accord of their own.

It is time for a change of tack. Northern Cyprus ought to be internationally recognized. Greek Cyprus, whose economy is thriving, ought to be accepted, on its own, into the European Union. The Greeks should cancel their missile order; the Turks should diminish their military presence. And Mr. Holbrooke could go home.