November 25, 2017

Proclamation by the State of New York on the occasion of the 30th Anniversary of the Turkish Invasion in Cyprus

Whereas, the Empire State is proud to be home to one of the Nation’s largest populations of Greek Americans, many of whom trace their roots to Cyprus, and this community has added to the growth and development of our State and Nation, and continues to thrive as a result of the contributions made by its people in areas such as the arts, education, industry, business and community service.

Whereas, the Republic of Cyprus has remained one of the last major unresolved areas of foreign occupation in Europe since July 20, 1974, when events unfolded that were profoundly tragic for the people of the Republic of Cyprus as their island was invaded by Turkish armed forces, documented as one of the most egregious military assaults of the 20th century and

Whereas, this act of aggression and the subsequent colonization by Turkey resulted in the loss of 37 percent of the Cypriot ancestral land, the forced expulsion of 200,000 Greek Cypriots from their northern homes, and the destruction of historical monuments and places of worship which stand as testaments to the 10,000 year-old Cypriot Civilization – moreover, nearly 1,500 Greek Cypriots disappeared and hundreds others were relegated to enclaves where they continue to endure discrimination and other hardships; and

Whereas, on April 24, 2004 the Annan Plan for a solution of the Cyprus problem was rejected by an overwhelming majority of Greek Cypriots during a referendum as it did not meet their minimum expectations on human rights, democratic values and fundamental freedoms for all Cypriot citizens; and

Whereas, the Republic of Cyprus formally joined the European Union on May 1, 2004 as the only divided country in Europe with troops occupying its land, and the government and people of Cyprus continue to struggle for the withdrawal of all Turkish troops from the island, for reunification, and for the return of refugees to their homes and properties, as they search for a solution based on the rules of International and European Law that will respect the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus; and

Whereas, it is fitting for all New Yorkers, characterized by their spirit of international goodwill, to join with people of Greek Cypriot ancestry and the worldwide community in pursuing a humanitarian mission to aid the Republic of Cyprus in its return to peace and unity;

Now, Therefore, I, George E. Pataki, Governor of the State of New York , do hereby proclaim July 20, 2004 as JUSTICE FOR CYPRUS DAY in the Empire State.

Given under my hand and the Privy Seal of the State at Capitol in the City of Albany this fifteenth day of July in the year two thousand four.