US Senator says all Turkish soldiers must leave Cyprus

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US Senator Robert Menendez has called for every Turkish soldier occupying Cyprus to leave the island for good.

He was speaking during an online event on the 39th anniversary of the unilateral declaration of the independence of the Turkish Cypriot breakaway state.

Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Menendez said he is proud to support the Cyprus cause, asking everyone to ensure that the last Turkish soldier leaves Cyprus.

“Erdogan’s continuing willingness to flex his authoritarian muscles to Cyprus and around the world means that it is more important than ever that America stands shoulder to shoulder with the Republic of Cyprus.

“I am proud to be a long-time supporter of the Cypriot cause and the decades of struggle for security and democracy in the Eastern Mediterranean.

“As you know, I am fully committed to the Republic of Cyprus’s sovereignty”.

He added that he was happy when the Biden administration allowed Cyprus to buy American-made weapons.

“It is an important achievement, but there is still more work to do”.

“The threat of the occupied area is one that has to be taken very seriously. The US should not put any F-16 fighter jets in President Erdogan’s hands.

“I will not approve any F-16s for Turkey until he holds his campaign of aggression across the entire region.

“There is so much that Cypriots, New Jerseyians and all Americans can accomplish together when we work with each other.

“Let’s make sure that every last Turkish soldier leaves the island of Cyprus once and for all”.

Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides expressed his appreciation for Senator Menendez’s support.

“His role in the rapprochement between Cyprus and the USA was vital. As a result, we are a uniquely safe, stable exception in this very turbulent area.

“We are currently in the midst of cataclysmic developments in Europe,” he added.

“With our own tragic experience of the military invasion and the Turkish occupation of more than one-third of our territory, we are in a position to better understand the tragic situation in Ukraine.

Republican Congressman Gus Bilirakis said: “We continue to focus on the illegal occupation of Cyprus. Much more work needs to be done.

“All Cypriots deserve an end to the senseless division of their homeland”.

Senator Chris Van Halen thanked Menendez for keeping “alive” the cause of justice in Cyprus.

Democrat Chris Papas said, “it is very important not to forget what happened in 1974, what happened in 1983 with the establishment of the so-called ‘republic of northern Cyprus’.

“We know what the Turks did; they removed people from their communities.”