Maloney marks anniversary of Turkish invasion of Cyprus
WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) today joined the American Hellenic Institute at the United States Capitol Rayburn House Office Building to Commemorate the 41st Anniversary of the Turkish Invasion of Cyprus. Her prepared remarks follow:
“Good morning, thank you for having me here today. Thank you to my good friend Nick Larigakis for the invitation to join you and for his steadfast advocacy for the Hellenic and Hellenic American communities. I’m also honored to be here with Ambassador Chacalli.
“We meet to honor a dark day in the history of Cyprus – the effects of which created an island that is divided to this day.
“On July 20, 1974, Turkish troops invaded the island of Cyprus and illegally established a territory in the north, segregating Cypriots and creating an instability that has persisted for 41 years.
“Greek Cypriots were forced from their homes, becoming refugees in their own country.
“Their religious and cultural sites were damaged and destroyed. Their religious freedoms restricted, their rights disrespected. It is time for Turkey to withdraw its troops from Cyprus so that the island can move forward as one nation.
“As you all know, Turkey continues forcibly to occupy more than one-third of Cyprus with more than 40,000 troops. However, the change in leadership of the Turkish Cypriots this year is reason to be cautiously hopeful that we will make real progress in reunifying Cyprus.
“Yet another provocation last fall when Turkish ships entered Cyprus’s Exclusive Economic Zone, threatening its sovereignty and interfering with its natural gas exploration activities, caused President Anastasiades to rightly walk away from reunification talks.
“I joined Rep. Gus Bilirakis, my co-chair on the Hellenic Caucus, in vigorously calling on the U.S. to actively urge Turkey to remove its ships from Cypriot waters to restart the negotiations. I am pleased that talks have resumed, and early reports suggest that the discussions are positive and productive. Cypriots have waited too long for peace.
“Too many years have passed without substantive progress toward reunification. It is up to Cyprus’s friends to make our voices heard toward achieving the ultimate goal of a reunified and prosperous Cyprus where Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots can live together in peace, security and stability.
“I assure you that I remain committed to supporting this outcome and the Hellenic Caucus will continue its work to maintain the U.S.’s active engagement in this process. Thank you for your friendship and tireless advocacy for Cyprus and the Hellenic community around the world.”