Turkey's Continuing Occupation of Cyprus
The article ``Efforts to Reunite Cyprus Heighten With New US Push,'' April 23, contains a few misleading points. To assert that ``Turkey invaded in the name of protecting the island's Turkish Cypriots'' gives a certain degree of legitimacy to an action of invasion and occupation that has been condemned by the United Nations on many more occasions than Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait.
The article mentions Turkish soldiers on the island, but no mention is made of the 60,000 or more mainland Turks that have been settled on the island in an effort to change its demographic balance.
It is important to note that these latest ``efforts'' are undertaken in a way that circumvents resolutions that call for the immediate withdrawal of the Turkish army, the return of the 200,000 Greek Cypriot refugees to their homes, and the unification of the island.
This is made clear by US officials talking of concessions by the Cypriot government such as ``allowing some kind of continued presence of Turkish troops on the island'' while the Turkish Cypriots ``could offer a territorial settlement or a refugee return.'' All these facts sadly point toward a division of Cyprus rather than its reunification as the headline suggests.
D.T. Papageorgiou, New York
Writing two papers on Cyprus in the middle of the crisis in the Gulf, I could not help but to draw some disturbing parallels between Cyprus and Kuwait. Even though Turkey's actions were condemned by several countries including the US, little has been done to help the Greek Cypriots, while the invasion of Kuwait provoked one of the most massive military operations in history. The reason for this seems to be that the importance of human lives and a nation's sovereignty depends on how much oil that nation produces.
Now, 17 years after Turkey's invasion, some new progress is being made. But rather than being encouraged by this news, I am hesitant about what concessions will be made in favor of Turkey for its support in the Gulf war.
My fear now is that the country of Cyprus will be offered up as another sacrificial lamb to help the US maintain favorable foreign relations in the Middle East.
Sandy Lawson, Robinson, Ill.
Turkey intervened in Cyprus as the US did in Kuwait. Greek Cypriots murdered Turkish Cypriots, pillaged their property, and violated every human right imaginable, as Iraqis did in Kuwait. Many Greek Cypriot civilians and militia participated in atrocities against Turkish Cypriots over a 12-year period when Greek Cypriots had total political, military, and economic control over the island.
Turkey demonstrated unparalleled restraint over many years before taking action. They took such action after exhausting all political avenues available to them. Turks asked both Greece and Britain to join them in keeping the peace on the island when massacres of Turkish Cypriots became intolerable. Both refused.
Tamer Acikalin, New Orleans