July 26, 2012 - 20:26 AMT
Congresswoman Berkley: Turkey must stop Genocide denial, return occupied Cyprus

Nevada Congresswoman (and Senate candidate) Shelly Berkley, in her recent Congressional statement against Turkey's occupation of Cyprus, raised Ankara's continued denial of the Armenian Genocide.

As Ms Berkley said, commemorating the 38th anniversary of the Turkish occupation of Cyprus, “ I rise to call my colleagues’ attention to the 38th anniversary of Turkey’s unlawful and tragic invasion of Cyprus. Turkey’s occupation, which began on July 20, 1974, left thousands of innocent Greek Cypriot civilians without their homes, their land, and their families. It is crucial for us to commemorate this unfortunate situation and assist the people of Cyprus in reaching a solution.

Many of the Cypriot generation who suffered the invasion have not lived to see justice or a resolution to this conflict. Although many of the survivors have had the opportunity to return to their homes on the northern side of the island, it was only to discover them occupied by Turkish settlers.

Only Turkey recognizes the occupied northern side of the country as a Turkish Cypriot state, but it does not even provide a valid standard of living to their own citizens. This was made evident through the recent demonstrations by Turkish Cypriots who have displayed their own dissatisfaction with the Turkish occupation. More recently, Turkey has threatened the use of force to stop Texas-based Noble Energy from drilling for oil and gas off the shores of Cyprus and to blacklist any businesses that work with Cyprus for natural resource extraction.

Meanwhile, the Turkish government has begun to sow instability throughout its region. Turkey recognizes the terrorist Hamas government in Gaza and even received its leader in the Turkish parliament earlier this year—disturbing hypocrisy from a state that receives US support for its own fight against terrorism. Turkey also demands that Israel end its naval blockade of Gaza, despite the deadly security threat Hamas poses to Israel. Turkey’s repeated, flagrant criticism of Israel is particularly troubling and potentially destabilizing.

Turkey continues to deny the Armenian Genocide during which 1.5 million Armenians perished and has threatened punitive measures against the United States if Congress recognizes this tragic event. Since 1993, Turkey has maintained a destabilizing blockade of Armenia.

The time has come for Turks to end their threats and denials, withdraw their troops, and return the territory that is not rightfully theirs. That way, the Cypriots—and the Cypriots alone—can make the decisions affecting their future.”