Below is the letter in full sent by luminaries of the Greek American community to Obama and Biden protesting the proposed meeting between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and leader of the Turkish occupation regime in northern Cyprus, Mehmet Ali Talat (see background here). It's also worth pointing out that tomorrow (Monday), Archbishop Demetrios of America will be meeting Clinton at the State Department to discuss the Talat meeting and other Greek-related issues and that on Wednesday, Demetrios will be leading the traditional 25 March delegation to the White House in which the president will flatter Greece and Greeks for their love of freedom and the enduring friendship that exists between America and Greece, the contribution of Greeks to American society, blah, blah, blah. It will be interesting to see what happens with the Talat meeting, whether it will go ahead or not, given all the hope and money Greek Americans invested in Obama and Biden.
Another observation: this article (in Greek) suggests that the Turks are preparing to announce the reopening of the Theological School of Halki, which is the main seminary of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, and which has been closed by the Turks since 1971. I'm only speculating; but if it is true that the Turks are going to allow Halki to reopen – something that both the US and EU have been pressing for – they may well have asked the Americans to boost Talat and the pseudo-state as recompense.
Dear President Obama and Vice President Biden
It has come to our attention that certain officials in your Administration are considering actions that are on the verge of extending the Bush Administration doctrine even further by establishing a Cyprus policy that contradicts both of your clearly articulated views on the issue. Please intervene before they cause America problems that will take years to correct.
Your Administration has not yet held high level contacts with either the President or the Foreign Minister of Cyprus. Thus, we are shocked to learn from a statement by the Turkish-Cypriot spokesman in Cyprus that they are now on the verge of establishing this Administration’s de facto recognition of an illegal entity in Cyprus’ militarily occupied area, while ignoring the internationally recognized Cyprus government. We understand that they plan to do this through high level Administration meetings with the leader of the pseudo-state before meetings with the President or Foreign Minister of the Republic of Cyprus.
You said to us in 2007, Mr. President, that America was “able to rely on Cyprus in the War on Terror and we were able to rely on Cyprus during the Lebanon Crisis.” Cyprus again demonstrated its support for U.S. security efforts by recently stopping an arms shipment from Iran to Hamas at U.S. urging. The last time Cyprus took such an action, Syria retaliated by taking a step toward de facto recognition of the occupied area of Cyprus by establishing ferry boat service to the north. If the people in your Administration follow through with these meetings, particularly before meeting with the government of Cyprus, our country will have punished Cyprus in the same way Syria did, by taking a step toward de facto recognition of the occupied area.
We know that you want, as you said to us, a “solution to the situation in Cyprus…based on the rule of law, not on force, one that is based on UN resolutions passed on the Cyprus issue, and on the very principles and standards of the EU….” Yet, the occupied area of Cyprus, with which your people are aligning you, is an anathema to those principles -- forced into place by more Turkish troops on that little island than America has in Afghanistan. Such de facto recognition will further solidify Turkish insistence on unreasonable Cyprus settlement provisions that virtually all Democrats on the Senate European Affairs Subcommittee objected to and which even a majority of the Republicans on that Subcommittee called “unacceptable to western democracies” in a letter to President Bush.
We understand that the Administration supports Turkey’s eventual accession into the European Union, as does the Republic of Cyprus. Pursuing anything that suggests de facto recognition of the occupation regime would not only be contrary to countless UN Security Council resolutions, but it would perhaps force the Republic of Cyprus to reconsider its stance with regard to Turkey and the EU.
Please overturn these misguided actions by people in your Administration. The Greek-American community that has been so committed to your Presidency and Vice Presidency, and the hope that they believed it would bring to the militarily occupied nation of Cyprus, will be devastated.
Andrew A. Athens