A resolution, submitted to the US House of Representatives, aims to expose and halt the illegal influx of Turkish settlers in Cyprus’ northern Turkish occupied areas, support Nicosia’s efforts to control all of its territory and exploit its energy resources without illegal interference by Turkey and end Turkey’s illegal occupation of northern Cyprus.
H.Res. 676 was introduced by Congressman Eliot Engel (NY) and Congressman Gus Bilirakis (FL) on June 5, 2012 calling on the US House of Representatives to urge the Turkish government to respect, accept and formally recognize the sovereignty of Cyprus, and accept and fully implement all the UN Security Council resolutions on Cyprus.
It also calls on the House to support Cyprus’ plans to explore and exploit energy reserves in its Exclusive Economic Zone and praise Cyprus and Israel for working cooperatively to develop the energy holdings in the region, urging at the same time the government of Turkey to cease all activities and plans to further develop energy resources illegally within the territory and EEZ of Cyprus.
Moreover the H.Res. 676 asks the House of Representatives of the US to oppose Turkey’s threatening statements and naval movements designed to keep Cyprus from exploiting its energy resources and express “serious concern about turkey’s ongoing efforts to colonize the area of northern Cyprus by sending hundreds of thousands of non-Cypriot Turkish citizens to Cyprus.”
The resolution has been referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs which will consider it before possibly sending to the House or Senate as a whole.
Turkey, whose troops occupy Cyprus’ northern part since they invaded in 1974, does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus. In December 2011, President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias announced that the results of the exploratory drilling in Cyprus` block 12 were positive, describing the discovery of hydrocarbons as historic for the island.
In response to Cypriot exploration activities, Ankara has deployed in the past warships in the Eastern Mediterranean and has signed an illegal agreement with the Turkish Cypriot regime in occupied Cyprus to delineate what it calls continental shelf.
The government of Cyprus has protested to the UN and the EU Turkey’s moves, saying it has a sovereign right to exploit its natural resources, pointing out that Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots will benefit from any benefits that may come from oil drilling.