To His Excellency the Vice President of the USA, Mr. Joseph Biden




By George K. Papadopoulos*

Dear Mr. Vice President,

Please allow me, a humble person, a citizen of the Republic of Cyprus living abroad and a Fulbright scholar that has been following your career for decades, to welcome you to the much troubled Cyprus. I need not remind you of the events of the past 40 years that led to this, you know them better than most, and also due to your position you surely  know much that is still classified.

Let me also express publicly my gratitude to you, as well as to several of your colleagues in the US Congress, e.g. the late Edward Kennedy, who, in that horrible summer of 1974 and beyond, constituted the few voices of hope for Cypriots. This in a country that in the course of just one month had 40 % of its land under foreign occupation, 30 % of its population as refugees in their own land, over 1 % as dead or missing (the horrifying details as to the demise of the latter keep coming out, and would make the blood of any American boil)!

We trust that you will verify the self-evident, i.e. not only has the Turkish army of occupation (40,000 strong) not left, but that there are anywhere from 200,000 to 300,000 illegal settlers from Turkey in the occupied part of Cyprus (obviously with Turkey’s blessing). Turkey has no intension of leaving from the occupied territory, in fact she would be very pleased if all indigenous Turkish Cypriots (T/Cs) would leave Cyprus (a Turk leaves, a Turk comes is an old and much cherished Turkish attitude on this matter). After all in, the standard reply of Turkish PM Erdogan to the several massive demonstrations by T/Cs demanding and end to military occupation of Cyprus, that have taken place in recent years, has been loud and clear: “I am footing the bill for your upkeep, so just shut up”

We hope that you will not spend any of your valuable political capital and money of the US taxpayer, pushing things that are destined to fail (e.g. the economic resuscitation of the city of Varoshia. It is an obligation of Turkey, since the relevant UN resolution of 1977 to return the city to its rightful citizens. Had she done so then, she would have gained much and much less money would have been necessary for the city’s restoration). It is perhaps better to direct your efforts to the creation of a fund that will bring the illegal settlers of Cyprus back to the lands they came from, and make sure that Cyprus is restored back to her rightful citizens, away from guarantees by countries that hardly respect their own citizens (see first photograph). It has been much publicized that the US is concerned about the free flow of energy to Europe as well as the rest of the world. A well-justified concern by a superpower! The solution to this concern, as regards our own region, has been given by Israeli President Shimon Peres, last year; he declared that the natural gas and oil of the Eastern Mediterranean basin could be the link that holds the countries and the people of this region together, as well as the catalyst for peace. This could obviously be the case among states that have self-respect and do not threaten their neighbors (e.g. but not exclusively, Egypt, Israel and Cyprus). States that hide behind the back of the US and blackmail and threaten everyone of their neighbors can only cause trouble and nothing else (the recently revealed discussions among Turkish officials of the highest level, FM Davutoglu and secret service MIT chief Fidan, planning a provocation in Syria in order to invade the country militarily, is a case in point; there has been no denial of the discussions, only much understandable hollering that they were revealed!).

Last, we hope that you will manage to see a few common folks, as you are a man of the people yourself, and understand why it is that Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots (but obviously not the illegal settlers from Turkey) were and are against this racist plan of Bizonal Bicommunal Federation, as a solution to our forced separation, in its various forms and guises (e.g. the Anan plan, and whatever other plans, the bureaucracies in US, the UK and Turkish governments may have thought of in the meantime). While all political forces in the US castigate the apartheid of S. Africa and honor the late Nelson Mandela who fought against it, the US government insists on imposing such a plan on Cyprus, and the US bureaucracy wonders why the Cypriots have rejected it with such an overwhelming majority. Perhaps, you are willing to try it to remedy previous Black and Hispanic discrimination in the US? Or on Turkey’s Kurds? (see a relevant article written by an American, in fact: http://mignatiou.com/2014/05/an-annan-plan-for-turkeys-kurds/); We are especially saddened that the US would still insist on such an approach, a full 35 years after relevant decisions by the US Supreme Court declaring illegal all job quotas in order to remedy previous discrimination against minorities. For the record, there were no discriminations against T/Cs in Cyprus, quite the contrary. The constitution of the Republic of Cyprus in 1959, gave them civil service quotas over 50 % of their population percentage, and over 100% of the same percentage in the police and the gendarmerie.

Forty years ago, almost to the date, the US administration did not heed the suggestion of the career diplomat and head of the Cyprus desk Thomas Boyatt, regarding ways to deal with the planned irresponsible overthrow of the government of President Makarios, by the Greek junta (100% supported by the US government, something for which President Clinton apologized in his visit to Greece in 1999, saying nothing however, about the consequences of junta’s actions in Cyprus). Boyatt’s suggestions were indeed the road not taken by the American diplomacy, to paraphrase Robert Frost (see http://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1969-76v30). Instead, the same policy approval towards the junta was continued; not the slightest expression of concern was shown about the coup-installed president Sampson. And when the junta coup leaders failed to assassinate President Makarios, the legal president of the Republic of Cyprus, who had escaped abroad in the meantime, the US turned to her other ally, Turkey. For all intents and purposes Turkey was given a green light to go ahead with a military invasion of Cyprus even though, as the leader of the T/Cs Rauf Denktash would state, not a single Turkish Cypriot had been touched by the junta’s coup (the documents above are quite revealing in this respect, to anyone who cares to read them). The aim had become plain enough in the meantime. In a large meeting, with the entire US administrative leadership in participation, on Sunday 21/7/1974 (at 16.33-18.23 Cyprus time, a full 36 hours after the invasion started with massive bombardment of civilian and military targets alike) there is the following dialogue:

-CIA chief William Colby: You’ve got to give Ecevit [the Turkish PM] something.

-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger: Why?

-Mr. Colby: We put him in an untenable position. We have to give him something he can take back to his generals.

….

– Secretary Kissinger: Our policy is to get rid of Sampson.

Just previously in the same meeting, the Secretary had labeled the Greek junta, that the US government had supported for over 7 years, in some of the worst possible terms! It is obvious from the exchanges above that the Turkish Armed Forces, 100 % equipped with American arms, were unable in these 36 hours to establish a beach-head and a connection to Nicosia even after using such overwhelming force; and this against the much demoralized (because of the previous coup) Cypriot National Guard. Pardon me for reminding you of this, but the use of US weaponry by Turkey in the invasion of Cyprus was considered illegal by the legal service of the US Department of State, a fact that became the basis of the arms embargo to Turkey that was imposed by the US Congress. Turkey finally succeeded to occupy so much of Cyprus, as the US government stood then and still does, by all her actions, trying in so many ways to support her positions and not make her the guilty party that she is (high State Department officials stated this as the role of the Anan plan). You may have to do this once more, by finding some gimmick that will help Turkey not pay the 90 million Euro fine recently levelled at her by the European Court of Human Rights, regarding her invasion and occupation of Cyprus. The Court has used some of its harshest legal language in its decades of existence, and this happens to be the highest fine ever imposed by the ECHR (Cyprus versus Turkey, http://hudoc.echr.coe.int/sites/eng/pages/search.aspx?i=001-144151#{“itemid”:[“001-144151”]}). Yet The Turkish FM has declared bluntly that he sees no reason for compliance with the court’s judgment. The University of Cyprus, by the way, has estimated the cost of the invasion and occupation of Cyprus by Turkey to nearly 90 billion euros. Truly “shameful things”, as the late Richard Holbrooke was to repeatedly label the US policy in the Eastern Mediterranean in the 1960’s and 1970’s.Why not wash off the shame, by switching policies in this matter, as you have done in the case of East Timor? After 25 years of occupation and slaughter by the Indonesian army of occupation (about 100,000 dead in a country of 600,000), you demanded via the UN and got in 2001, the withdrawal of this army of occupation, and free elections in the country (incidentally, the invasion of E. Timor by Indonesia in 1975 was also carried out with Secretary Kissinger’s blessing).

From the two photographs of this text, it is obvious that the way the Turkish government views events and acts upon them, has hardly changed from the time of the invasion of Cyprus until today. There are however two related questions, the answer to which is partly in your hands: will the government of the US change her views on the matter of Cyprus? Is it worth adding to a failed policy?

Once more, welcome to Cyprus!

* George K. Papadopoulos (Ph.D.) is a Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Epirus Institute of Technology, Arta, GREECE

Photo above: Photograph of a special aide to Turkish PM Erdogan kicking a demonstrator that has been arrested by the police, after recent the tragedy in the Soma mine. …..Upon being questioned by a journalist, the aide would declare that he acted in self-defense, something obvious to the uninitiated. Today, it has been learned that the aide has been given one-week sick leave because of foot and knee pains.

TOYRKIA-EISBOLH02-18MAY2014

Turkish soldier kicking Cyprus, in a leaflet that was widely circulated in Turkey at the time of the invasion, in 1974. Turkish PM Ecevit can be seen in the upper left part. From the book: Cyprus, Days of wrath. Third edition, Morphotiki Ltd, Nicosia,1976.

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