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Public Statements

Commemorating the Turkish Invasion of Cyprus

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

* Mr. SCHIFF. Madam Speaker, I rise today to recognize the 36th anniversary of the Turkish invasion and continuing occupation of the northern part of Cyprus. Since then, Cypriots have suffered from the division of their country and countless violations of their human rights by Turkish occupation forces. Even today, there is one Turkish soldier for every 2 Cypriots, making Cyprus one of the most heavily militarized places on Earth. It is important that we recognize not only the anniversary of the invasion, but also the island's ongoing problems at the hands of Turkey.

* On July 20, 1974, Turkish troops unlawfully occupied the northern part of Cyprus with a heavily-armed force that maintains control of 37 percent of Cyprus today. This has resulted in the usurpation and exploitation of Cypriot property, as well as the creation of hundreds of thousands of refugees. Additionally, an influx of Turkish immigrants has settled into the evicted Cypriots' homes, permanently altering the demographics of Cyprus and outnumbering native Cypriots by two to one. The UN has passed a multitude of resolutions calling for Turkish withdrawal from Cyprus, but they have been continually ignored.

* As Cyprus has always been a reliable partner of the United States, we must not forget the injustices suffered by its people. We must uphold the ideals of freedom, democracy, justice, human rights, and the international rule of law. By invading Cyprus, Turkey is in direct offense to all of these. As much as we would rather have no such grievance to recognize, it is important that we commemorate these injustices today.

* I urge my colleagues to join me in expressing the hope that Cyprus will be reunified soon and that peace will return to this beautiful and historic land in the eastern Mediterranean.

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