Twenty-one US congress members have urged US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hold Turkey accountable for opening fenced-off Varosha and condemn its President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for supporting a two-state solution for Cyprus.
Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), co-chair and co-founder of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues, and Congressman Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues, led the initiative.
In their letter, the Members state: “The United States must hold Turkey accountable for its illegal actions in Varosha and demand that the Turkish government immediately remove and prohibit anyone from occupying the area.
“Without tangible repercussions from the United States, President Erdogan will continue to operate as though he can act with impunity.”
Cyprus, they point out, “is one of our most critical allies in the region and the United States is obligated to be engaged on the Varosha issue and actively oppose President Erdogan’s desire to create a two-state solution in Cyprus.”
The United States government, the members of Congress say, “must make clear to President Erdogan that rhetoric promoting a two-state solution in Cyprus, or any action advancing such an agenda, is unacceptable.”
Erdogan came out in support of a two-state solution when visiting the occupied north of Cyprus on Sunday where he also took a trip to Varosha.
Washington was urged to publicly demand President Erdogan to immediately cease and desist from his efforts to change the status of Varosha.
The politicians also want the US to reaffirm its commitment to a comprehensive settlement to reunify Cyprus as a federation; hold Turkey accountable for violating international law; maintain pressure on Ankara to reverse its stance on a two-state solution and remain ready to defend the security and sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus.
USA-Cyprus relations have warmed of late underlined by the recent visit of Pompeo to Cyprus and the partial lifting of a decades-old US arms embargo.