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To IHA President Capt. Evangelos Rigos
8 May 2019
His Excellency António Guterres,Secretary General of the United Nations
His Excellency Michael Richard Pompeo, Secretary of State of the United States
Rt. Hon. Jeremy Hunt MP, Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary of the United Kingdom
His Excellency Sergey Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
His Excellency Jean-Yves Le Drian,Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs of the Republic of France
His Excellency Wang Yi, Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of China
His Excellency Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary-General of the Council of Europe
Her Excellency Federica Maria Mogherini, Vice-President of the European Commission, President of the Foreign Affairs Council and High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
Rt. Hon. Baroness Scotland of Asthal QC, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth
His Excellency Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO)
Re: “Incursion in to Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone: Turkey’s latest invasion”
The International Hellenic Association is appalled by the new naked aggression of Turkey to invade the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the Republic of Cyprus and illegally send its vessels to plunder Cyprus’ hydrocarbon resources.
We second Lobby for Cyprus’ press release of 7 May 2019 entitled “Incursion in to Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone: Turkey’s latest invasion” (at https://lobbyforcyprus.wordpress.com/2019/05/07/cyprus-eez-incursion/ and copied into the Appendix of this letter.) We fully support its content.
Whilst we welcome the various statements from the international community, as mentioned in the press release, we agree with Mr Christou that “words are not enough”. Turkish aggression must be faced with concrete action and punitive measures.
Turkey has been misbehaving for decades without paying any price for her crimes and other illegal activities. In consequence, she has been allowed to become an autocracy and the bully of the Eastern Mediterranean. It is incomprehensible why the United Nations, NATO, the EU, the Council of Europe, the Commonwealth and other international organisations still appear reluctant to take decisive action to safeguard their own Charters, Conventions and values. Besides effectively condoning Turkey’s continued occupation of a substantial part of the Republic of Cyprus, following its two invasions in July and August 1974, each of these organisations has done nothing of any substance to reverse the ongoing Turkish occupation and to prevent the ongoing violation of the human rights of the thousands of uprooted Christian Greek citizens of the Republic of Cyprus. For decades, they have been arbitrarily prohibited from returning to their homes and properties in the Turkish-occupied area.
It is high time that you, as leaders of powerful countries or institutions stand by the principles and values of civilized societies. You must put a stop to Turkey’s free hand to engage in aggression. Please, therefore, explain which action will be taken by each of you individually and by all of you collectively: firstly, to prevent Turkey from further violating the sovereignty and EEZ of the Republic of Cyprus and, secondly, to hold Turkey to account for its ongoing occupation of the north of the Republic of Cyprus, for its multiple violations of human rights and for its flagrant disregard for international law.
We look forward to receiving from each of you a response to this letter.
International Hellenic Association
The International Hellenic Association-IHA www.professors-PhDs.com is a non profit, non partisan association headquartered in the State of Delaware in the USA. Its membership exceeds 4,000, mainly derived from the academic community in Greece and worldwide.
Apart from the academic sector, the IHA includes in its membership former ambassadors, military officers, and organizations as well as prominent luminaries in Greek society. Its President is Capt. Evangelos Rigos and its Vice President is Nina Gatzoulis, coordinator of the Global Pan-Macedonian Associations
Exclusive Economic Zone exploration blocks of the Republic of Cyprus. Turkey has illegally sent its vessels to plunder Cyprus’ hydrocarbon resources
“Turkey’s latest unlawful incursion into the territorial waters of the Republic of Cyprus is tantamount to another invasion” said Lobby for Cyprus spokesperson VangelisChristou.
“In blatant disregard for international law, the Turkish vessel Fatih and its support ships entered the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the free areas of Cyprus on or about Saturday 4 May. Turkey intends to drill for hydrocarbon resources to which Turkey has no legal or moral claim”, explained Christou.
He went on to say that “Turkey, having already broken the law by invading, occupying and ethno-religiously cleansing 36 percent of the territory and 57 percent of the coastline of Cyprus in 1974, has now sent its drilling ship and support vessels to break the law again by engaging in theft, plunder and pillage.”
Turkey has no right to appropriate for itself hydrocarbons lawfully belonging to Cyprus. Indeed, bearing in mind that Turkey has been the occupying power in the northern area of Cyprus since 1974, any arbitrary extraction of Cypriot natural gas by Turkey would not only violate the United Nations Charter of 1945 and the United Nations Law of the Sea Convention of 1982, the latter of which Turkey has never signed. It would also constitute a war crime.
Article 6(b) of the Nuremberg Charter of 1945 brands plunder as a war crime. Article 8.2(b)(v) of the Rome Statute on the International Criminal Court of 1998 brands pillage as a war crime.
“It is no surprise that Turkey is not a signatory or a party to a host of international treaties, including the United Nations International Convention of Law of the Sea of 1982 and the Rome Statute on the International Criminal Court of 1998. After all, successive Turkish governments have resorted to operating outside of the law and the norms of civilised behaviour, particularly in regard to Cyprus. The Turkish government continues to behave as a regional bully and as if it were a colonial power that can steal land, property and resources of other countries”, said Christou.
Lobby for Cyprus welcomes the statement by Federica Mogherini (EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy / Vice President of the EU Commission) on 4 May 2019. She expressed “grave concern over Turkey’s announced intention to carry out drilling activities within the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus”. Ms Mogherini urgently called on Turkey “to show restraint, respect the sovereign rights of Cyprus in its exclusive economic zone and refrain from any such illegal action to which the European Union will respond appropriately and in full solidarity with Cyprus.” (Source: https://europa.eu/!Du38hq)
A spokesperson of the UK High Commission in Cyprus reportedly commented that “the UK agrees with the High Representative’s position on the issue” while on 5 May 2019 the US State Department issued a statement disclosing the following:
“The United States is deeply concerned by Turkey’s announced intentions to begin offshore drilling operations in an area claimed by the Republic of Cyprus as its Exclusive Economic Zone. This step is highly provocative and risks raising tensions in the region. We urge Turkish authorities to halt these operations and encourage all parties to act with restraint.” (Source: www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2019/05/291497.htm#)
Christou reacted to these statements by commenting that “words are not enough”. He added: “Concrete action must now be taken to censure Turkey for its latest violations in the EEZ and continental shelf of the Republic of Cyprus. Ankara must be punished for acting as a sustained source of instability and conflict in the region”, said Christou.
“The UN, the EU, the Commonwealth and other international organisations must take robust action. Nothing short of international sanctions and other restrictive measures will remind Ankara of its obligation to behave in a civilised manner and to desist from terrorising Cyprus in such a brazen manner.
“The citizens of Cyprus, particularly its forcibly displaced citizens, have long paid the price of the international community’s tolerance of Turkey’s continuing violations in Cyprus. It is time that this tolerance ended and sanctions must be imposed forthwith on Turkey. This bully and its autocratic President must be held to account”, concluded Christou.
Lobby for Cyprus is a non-party-political human rights organisation that campaigns for a Cyprus free from Turkish occupation and a unitary Cypriot state without segregation along ethnic and religious lines.
Lobby for Cyprus is a London based organisation.