Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech during a protest against the recent killings of Palestinians on the Gaza-Israel border, Friday.
In the 1970s, a young mogul named Donald Trump was making news as a young, brash and very successful real estate developer. At the same time, Turkey’s 1974 invasion of Cyprus made international headlines. Now, 44 years later, they are on a collision course of historic consequence. US President Trump is the leader of the Western world and Turkey’s occupation of Cyprus has now become the first modern Islamist fundamentalist attempt to capture Western world territory and resources.
New revelations expose Turkey stealthily positioning itself to attempt to permanently possess the northern third of Cyprus, which is rich in hydrocarbons and stands as a bulwark of Western civilization in the Eastern Mediterranean. Cypriot citizens fought beside the US in every 20th century war and have shown their unwavering common thinking. When Turkey refused treatment to our dying soldiers at our base at Incirlik, after Islamist fundamentalists bombed US military barracks in Beirut, Cyprus stepped up and took care of our soldiers.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan duped US officials into believing he would end his illegal military occupation of Cyprus. He was so convincing that news stories indicated President Barack Obama spent more time on the phone with Erdogan than any other head of state for most of his presidency.
Erdogan ignored the Geneva Conventions and quietly transplanted hundreds of thousands of Turks to live among Cypriot-born Turkish Cypriots in Cyprus who are traditionally Western, moderate and secular Muslims. The Turkish Cypriots recently exposed Erdogan’s ploy by pointing out that there are 684,301 active mobile phones and 715,000 loaves of bread baked a day in the northern third of Cyprus and that they, who are supposed to essentially be the totality of the population, number only 130,000.
The Turkish Cypriots complain that Erdogan has forced mosques and extremist imams into the occupied area that “brainwash our children.” Recently, Erdogan’s Gray Wolves violently attacked a Cypriot newspaper that stood with America in opposing Erdogan’s assault on US-backed Syrian Kurds who have fought jihadi Islamists. Given that the birthrate of the roughly 500,000 Turks on Cyprus is higher than that of the 800,000 Christian Greek Cypriots who live in the remaining two-thirds of the island, illegal non-secular Turks stand to become a majority of the people in this Western democratic island nation and pose an even more serious threat to US security interests.
Spurred by the need to distract domestic attention from Erdogan’s collapsing economy, this conquest attempt will reach a historic tipping point under President Trump’s watch. And we are confident that Trump will put an end to it. His “common sense” will replace Washington’s “wisdumb” that has effectively given the “green light” to Turkish aggression on Cyprus. There are dozens of examples that include looking the other way during Turkey’s illegal use of American arms and planes in violation of the Foreign Assistance Act to invade Cyprus. They even include our helping Turkey with shameful silence as they hid for 10 years their execution of five Americans captured alive, dumping them along with 2,000 Greek-Cypriot men, women and children into mass graves.
Trump’s extraordinary business sense will protect Cyprus, a hydrocarbon-rich ally that has been working with Exxon, Shell and Noble Energy of Texas. It is also working with America and Israel to provide a safe path for these resources to Western Europe. He will not be frightened as Turkish warships try to intimidate companies licensed by Cyprus, like Italy’s Eni, to explore for hydrocarbons in their exclusive economic zones. Nor will he remain silent as Erdogan attempts to take over Cyprus’s northern third in his drive to create a new Ottoman sultanate and a world caliphate.
Washington “wisdumb” cannot manipulate President Trump. As long as he is the leader of the Western world, he will not allow Erdogan’s Islamist fundamentalists to achieve their first modern conquest of the West. President Trump, please stand with the Republic of Cyprus, a strong ally of the United States and Israel.
Philip Christopher is president of the International Coordinating Committee “Justice for Cyprus” (PSEKA).