Turkish Occupation

(From International Herald Tribune, September 9, 2007)

by Shlomo Avineri,

Professor of Political Science, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

 Former Director-General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel



Carl Bildt and Massimo D'Alema ("It's time for a fresh effort," Views, Sept. 2) make a cogent and reasoned argument for a serious renewal of talks for Turkey's EU accession, mounting an impressive series of political and moral arguments.


Yet along the way, they somehow lose their moral compass when it comes to the Cyprus issue.


When addressing the EU efforts to help solve the division of Cyprus, Bildt and D'Alema refer to the areas of north Cyprus occupied by Turkey as "areas of the Republic of Cyprus in which the government does not exercise effective control." Such evasive language is shameful: North Cyprus is under Turkish military occupation, unanimously condemned by the international community.


Referring to this illegal occupation by such euphemisms only repeats the root causes of the failure of the Annan Plan. This is especially disappointing when it comes from people like Bildt and D'Alema, who rarely miss an opportunity - and rightly so - to condemn the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.


There should be limits, even in diplomatic circumlocution, to double standards and hypocrisy. Occupation is occupation.


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