I am strongly opposed to Turkey's 36-year illegal occupation ofCyprus. Today, there are still about 36,000 Turkish troops occupyingthe north. They stand as a barrier against the reunification of Cyprus. Ibelieve that the Turkish military occupation of Cyprus, a sovereign EUmember state, must end, and Cyprus must be reunified.In June 2011, I joined with several colleagues including Congressman Eliot Engel and Congressman Gus Bilirakis, in a letter to the President pressing him on the northern Cyprus issue. The letter called on the President to urge Turkey to understand that the occupation of northern Cyprus is against Turkey's interests, violates international law, and does not promote the safety and security of Turkish Cypriots who would prosper in a united Cypriot republic. Further, the letter calls on Turkey to stop violating the rights of Christians in Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus. The letter also lauds the Republic of Cyprus for its pro-American actions. Cyprus denied the use of its ports to the Gaza "flotilla' and is preventing the use of its territory for actions that might destabilize the already tense Middle East. Cyprus also captured an arms-laden ship traveling from Syria to Hamas in Gaza in 2009, and it has stood with the United States against the Iranian nuclear program. As a member of the European Union, Cyprus shares our Western traditions of freedom and civil rights.