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Public Statements

Support for the Reunification of Cyprus

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

* Mr. SHERMAN. Madam Speaker, I wish to speak today about an injustice that has been taking place in Cyprus for the last 36 years.

* In 1974, when hostilities broke out on the small island, Turkey began its military occupation of more than one-third of Cypriot land.

* Nearly ten years later, the Turks declared this land to be the ``Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus''. To this day, the only country to recognize this declaration is Turkey, which still illegally occupies the northern part of Cyprus.

* Currently there are about 36,000 Turkish troops occupying the North of Cyprus. They stand as a physical manifestation of the barrier Turkey is putting up against Cypriot reunification.

* Turkey has made other efforts to discourage reunification. According to the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly, Turkey has deliberately and continuously modified the demographics of the island, and they have enacted a system of ``naturalization'' that encourages mainland Turks to move to Cyprus.

* This occupation is made all the more tragic by its needlessness. Thirteen million Turkish-Cypriots and Greek-Cypriots have crossed into each others communities without incident. They seek to live together as neighbors in countries to which they have emigrated. There is no reason for these peoples to be divided.

* We have reason to be hopeful--Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders have been engaged in UN-sponsored negotiations since September 2008 to reunify the island.

* The United States has an important role to play in the reunification of Cyprus. We must ensure that we are doing all we can to make the island unified once more by working with the European Union, Turkey, and all citizens of Cyprus toward a peaceful and fair resolution of this decades-old conflict.

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