Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Madam Speaker, the illegal Turkish occupation of the northern region of the sovereign state of Cyprus began 34 years ago, and continues to this day.
It must end, and Turkey must remove its forces from Cyprus' territory.
Very commendable efforts are underway by the Cypriot government to achieve a reunification of Cyprus. Meetings are being held with the designated representative for the Turkish Cypriot community to discuss ways to create a federal structure that will ensure the rights and freedoms of all the people of Cyprus.
But, just as the continued illegal occupation of northern Cyprus has to end, Turkey has to play a constructive role in supporting the talks on reunification. In that regard, it is simply not helpful to have Turkish military displays in northern Cyprus, marking the anniversary of the occupation, as took place this past weekend.
It is time for the barricades to come down, for the people who had been forced from their homes decades ago to return, for those who remain missing from the time of the invasion to be accounted for, and for freedom and economic prosperity to be allowed to spread across the beautiful island-country of Cyprus.
I note the anniversary of the Turkish military invasion of Cyprus with great disappointment that the Turkish military continues its illegal occupation.
But I remain hopeful that the voices that are calling for peace and reunification of Cyprus will be heard and will prevail.
Just as the ongoing talks have already led to the reopening of Ledra Street, a key thoroughfare in Nicosia that had been closed for over 40 years, those talks can lead to reunification of all of Cyprus itself, if Turkey takes steps that will support that.