Monday, July 23, 2007

Occupation is as occupation does

I believe that the Congressman who represents the Republicans in my district has strayed off course. It seems to me that Gus Bilirakis needs to refocus his attention on our American military crisis and our fellow Americans dying in Iraq. So, for the sake of my military family members and the rest of our brave American troops, I felt the need to tweak and improve his latest press release. I am proposing that he re-submit his bill to Congress after he includes my corrections, adaptions and/or ammendments.

Remarks as edited and adapted by thefos for a reality check on our American military crisis due to the U.S. led Iraq Occupation:

Gus Bilirakis Commemorates the 33rd 4 ½ Anniversary of the Turkish U.S. Led Invasion of Cyprus Iraq

WASHINGTON (20 Jul.) -- Last night, U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.), member of House Foreign Affairs Committee and co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues, delivered the following remarks on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives to commemorate the 33rd 4 1/2 anniversary of the invasion of Cyprus Iraq by U.S led Turkish military forces.

Gus Bilirakis' press release:

Mr. Speaker, I rise today not only as a privileged member of this body, but particularly as a Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. and Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues I want to use this honorable position to truly support our troops by ending the U.S. led Iraq occupation and bring them home safely to their beloved families. I also admit to my constituents and fellow American patriots, that we never should have taken our eyes off the ball. We never should have allowed the Bush Administration to divert our attention from Bin Laden and the terrorists who attacked us on September 11, 2001.

I stand before you today to recall an anniversary that has racked the Cypriot Iraqi and Hellenic American communities for the past 33 4 ½ years.

Mr. Speaker, even though the tragic events of the Turkish U.S. led invasion of Cyprus Iraq took place so 4 ½ long years ago, the pain and suffering of this tragic occasion still ripples throughout the Greek Iraqi and Cypriot American communities.

This anniversary is a time for America to solemnly remember the Turkish military U.S. led invasion of the Island of Cyprus Iraq, to mourn those who lost their lives, and to condemn the continued occupation.

On July 20, 1974, March 20, 2003, in blatant violation of international law, Turkey the U.S led coalition violently invaded Cyprus Iraq and captured the northern part of the island declared “Mission Accomplished on May 1, 2003. As a result of the invasion, approximately 5,000 Cypriots 60,000+ Iraqis were killed and more than 1,400 Greek Cypriots, including four Americans of Cypriot descent, who still remain missing along with 3632 American soldiers.

Since the invasion, Turkey the Bush/Cheney Administration has established a heavily-armed military occupation that continues to control nearly 40 percent of Cyprus is failing to control the civil war in Iraq. Forced expulsions of Greek Cypriots on the occupied land, have left more than 160,000 displaced persons. An estimated 1.6-2.0 million people have fled Iraq.

Another tragic result of this 33 4 ½ year occupation is the divisions among Greek Sunni and Turkish Cypriots Shi’a factions who since have forcibly lived their lives separated along ethnic lines are also targeting and killing brave American troops. This cracking of the Cypriot Iraq nation is a crime against society and the people of Cyprus Iraq that can only be resolved by ending this occupation.

Since the invasion, international governing bodies and human rights groups have condemned Turkey’s the Bush/Cheney Administration’s flagrant abuse of international law and violation of Cyprus’s Iraq’s national sovereignty. Mr. Speaker, 33 4 ½ years is just too long.

The international community and the American people have expressed their support for has helped shepherd a peace process and settlement that will unite the island, its people, institutions and economy. The United Nations Security Council, the European Union and the United States have all played key roles in trying to bring a practical and fair resolution of this 33 4 ½ year nightmare.

On the occasion of this anniversary, America needs to take a long and hard look at its own commitment toward helping the Turkish Cypriot Sunni-Shi’a crisis factions reach a lasting and enduring peace – free from occupation, division and oppression.

As a new member of the European Union, the Republic of Cyprus has proven a committed and America and Iraq must reach out to influential partner neighboring countries in Europe the Middle East. Despite having a Because a large portion of its land is illegally occupied, Cyprus’s Iraq’s successful social and economic integration into the European Global community is a testament to its focus and dedication to democratic values and regional cooperation has been violently deterred.

The Republic of Cyprus has also worked alongside its European neighbors to bring about a stronger integration of Turkish and Greek Cypriot interests for the good of the Island. This has included a partial lifting on restrictions of movement across the cease fire line that continues to forcibly divide Cyprus.

As a result, since April 2003, more than 13 million Greek and Turkish Cypriots have crossed without incident. Additionally, the per capita income of Turkish Cypriots has nearly tripled in the last three years because of an aggressive integration policy by the Republic of Cyprus and its European neighbors.

Mr. Speaker, I believe that because of this continued integration civil war between Turkish Sunni and Greek Cypriots Shi’a factions, and the economic and political successes failures of the democratically elected Iraqi government, that the Republic of Cyprus so readily wants to share with its neighbors, it is possible to we must bring closure to this 33 4 ½ year occupation.

Indeed, according to:, on July 8, 2006, the President of the Republic of Cyprus Tassos Papadopoulos and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat agreed to formally begin consultations with the ultimate aim of a peaceful reunification and an end to Turkey’s military occupation.
the White House appeared resigned to the fact that the Iraqi parliament is going to take August off, even though it has just eight weeks to show progress on military, political and economic benchmarks prescribed by the United States.

My understanding is at this juncture they're going to take August off, but, you know, they may change their minds,
White House press secretary Tony Snow said on Friday.
You know, it's 54 degree Celsius [130 degrees Fahrenheit] in Baghdad in August,
he said, sympathetically.

Our own US Congress plans to be on vacation from August 3 to September 4, 2007. Despite the early successes of what has since been known as the “July 8 Agreement,” and the best efforts of the Cyprus government, the Turkish Cypriots Our own government has have not followed through on their its commitment to continue this dialogue and path toward peace.

In fact, Mr. Speaker, only last week, President Papadopoulos attempted to jumpstart the Island’s reunification efforts and resume the July 8 Agreement process. Though he initially accepted this gesture, Turkish Cypriot leader Talat ended up cancelling the proposed meeting. the president of the United States, and this Congress, along with the Iraqi government, should demonstrate its commitment and support for the July 8 Agreement as a way toward ending the Turkish Cypriot divide on the Island of Cyprus our troops and the Iraqi people by voluntarily sacrificing any and all vacation time until a peaceful resolution has been reached. I have introduced legislation, H. Res. 405 Stop the Surge 3632, which expresses strong support for the implementation of the July 8 Agreement. ending the occupation in Iraq.

I urge all of my colleagues to act and help this body put our own stamp of support on the July 8 peace process by supporting this resolution.

Cyprus has long been a strong and faithful ally of the United States. It continues to work with us in the Global War on Terrorism and has supported our efforts in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Aside from providing over flight rights and port access, the government of Cyprus has joined only a handful of nations who have acted on their commitment to cancel Iraq’s outstanding debt.

Mr. Speaker, 33 4 ½ years is long enough. It is not impossible to conceive one-day having a Cyprus Iraq that is unified under bi tri-zonal, bi tri communal federation with a single sovereignty, single international personality and single citizenship with respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all Cypriots Iraqis, but the Iraqi government must bring these factions to the table using diplomacy instead of violence and oppression.

America, a friend of the Cypriot Iraqi people, owes it to them to do everything in their power to support peace and an end to this illegal occupation.

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