Senator Menendez denounces Turkish occupation on Cyprus independence day

President Anastasiades honored Senator Menendez with the highest order of merit of Cyprus in August. Credit: Cypriot Presidency

US Senator Bob Menendez (DN.J.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, made a statement in support of Cyprus on Friday on the 61st anniversary of its independence.

Senator Menendez is a notorious ally of Cyprus when it comes to Turkey. Menendez, who is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has been a steadfast supporter of Greece and Cyprus and a staunch critic of Turkish President Erdogan’s policies in the Eastern Mediterranean. He was instrumental in passing a law ending the US arms embargo against the Republic.

Grecian Delight supports Greece

The Menendez Declaration celebrates the independence of Cyprus and calls for an end to “the illegal occupation of Cypriot territory by the Turkish army” and affirms the commitment of the United States and Cyprus to each other by as allies. The statement reads as follows:

“I join the Cypriot community in New Jersey and around the world in celebrating the 61st anniversary of the independence of the Republic of Cyprus.

“On this day, reaffirm our condemnation of the illegal occupation of Cypriot territory by the Turkish army for almost 50 years, and categorically reject any continued attempt to redraw the borders in Europe by creating a separate state in northern Cyprus. As a fervent supporter of deep American ties with Cyprus, we must continue to support a peace process that ultimately allows the Cypriot people to finally celebrate Independence Day in a reunified country, as a bizonal, bicommunal federation.

“The US-Cypriot relationship has grown even stronger over the years and I am very proud of what we have accomplished together. We have solidified a key partnership of democracies in the Eastern Mediterranean, increased our cooperation in the fields of energy and defense and strengthened joint efforts to promote peace and stability in the region. I am deeply grateful for the many contributions of the Cypriot community here in the United States in helping to deepen the bonds between our nations.

“I wish the people of the Republic of Cyprus a happy Independence Day as they mark this important anniversary.”

Menendez honored in Cyprus

The President of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, presented Menendez with the Grand Cross of the Order of Makarios III in a ceremony at the presidential palace in August. The Grand Cross is one of six degrees of the Order of Makarios III – the highest order of merit awarded by the Republic of Cyprus.

During the ceremony, the senator said Cyprus was “a special place”.

“I look at what this great Republic has done for its people, and I look across the other green line and say what an incredibly lost opportunity for the people of the North,” he said.

“If the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots were left to their own negotiations, then they could find a way forward for reunification,” he added.

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