AJC, HALC support Menendez-Van Hollen letter on Cypriot sovereignty
The American Jewish Committee (AJC) and the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC) expressed their support on Friday for the letter Senators Bob Menendez and Chris Van Hollen are preparing to send to US President Joe Biden asking him to speak out against Turkey’s attempts to lay claim to Varosha in occupied Cyprus.
Varosha was Cyprus's own Riviera until conflict split the island in two in 1974 and the resort's Greek-Cypriot community fled, leaving a ghost town.
The full text is as follows:
On behalf of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) and the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC), we are writing to ask you to sign onto the letter Senators Bob Menendez and Chris Van Hollen are sending to President Biden asking him to speak out against Turkey’s attempts to lay claim to Varosha in occupied Cyprus.
In this letter, they detail the Turkish government’s brazen claims on Varosha, which has been under occupation since Turkey illegally invaded Cyprus in 1974. First, Turkish President Erdogan opened up the city’s beaches, despite clear international law prohibiting him from doing so. Now, he is planning massive infrastructure projects in contravention of United Nations Security Council Resolutions. In addition, in a highly provocative act, Erdogan is planning on visiting the occupied city on July 20th, the anniversary of Turkey’s illegal invasion.
Turkey’s plans regarding Varosha not only violate international law, but they risk destabilizing Cyprus and the rest of the Eastern Mediterranean. Varosha has long been a key to reunifying Cyprus and establishing a peace on the island that would have positive ramifications for the region. Carrying out the plans that Turkey and the current Turkish Cypriot leader have put forth would have the exact opposite effect. Varosha should be a symbol of hope and peace, not of a deepening conflict.
We urge you to join your colleagues in calling on President Biden to use all diplomatic and policy tools at his disposal to demand that Turkey cease its continued violations of Cypriot sovereignty and international law.