Mr. DEUTCH. Mr. Speaker, I rise in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of Turkey's invasion of Cyprus, which began a conflict that continues to this day.
Since July 20, 1974, Turkey has occupied the northern territory of Cyprus, denying thousands of Greek Cypriots the right to return to their homes and imposing severe restrictions on their property rights and religious freedoms. They continue to block the exhumation of mass graves, even under UN supervision, leaving hundreds of cases of missing people unresolved.
Cyprus should not be expected to accept anything less in terms of fundamental democratic rights than any American would accept. A final resolution must be determined by the Cypriots and for the Cypriots.
I am encouraged that both parties agreed to a Joint Statement which lays the foundation for future resolution talks, and I applaud President Anastasiades' proposed confidence-building measures as helpful ways to facilitate the negotiating process.
I also wish to recognize the incredible achievements by Cyprus despite the ongoing conflict.
Cyprus has flourished as a nation and grown as a democratic stalwart in the eastern Mediterranean. This ally of the United States has helped progress U.S. interests in the region, including their integral role in the removal of chemical weapons from Syria.
As a member of the European Union, they helped push the body to designate Hezbollah a terrorist organization. Their recent discovery of offshore natural gas will not only provide a significant revenue stream for the country, but also creates opportunities for cooperation with Israel and offers an alternative energy source for the EU.
As a co-chair of the Congressional Hellenic-Israeli Alliance Caucus, I will continue to promote greater collaboration between Congress, Israel, Greece, and Cyprus.
This conflict has continued for far too long, and I call on both parties to resume negotiations and work toward a permanent resolution.