AHI Action Alert: Contact Offices of Congressional Staff Delegation Who Participated in Trip to 
Occupied Cyprus
via Illegal Tymbou Airport

Click here to read background
Click here to learn names of Congressional staffers who violated international law
Click here to read action requested
Click here to read questions to ask staffers
Click here to read fact sheet on flying to Cyprus


AHI has recently learned the names of the seven staffers on a congressional staff delegation who flew into Occupied Cyprus via the illegal Tymbou Airport. The names and contact info for the seven congressional staff members are listed below.

The Tymbou airport was built on property illegally taken from its lawful owners during the Turkish invasion in 1974. Their visit constitutes a second violation of the rule of law by congressional personnel this year. During the memorial day holiday, a congressional delegation led by Turkish Caucus Co-Chairman Edward Whitfield (R-KY) that included Representatives Nathan Deal (R-GA), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), and one staffer of Turkish Caucus Chairman Wexler (D-FL), illegally flew into the illegal Tymbou Airport directly from Turkey bypassing the legal entry points to Occupied Cyprus via Larnaca and Paphos.

The American Hellenic Institute (AHI), on behalf of its nationwide membership, is strongly opposed to any congressional trip through the illegal Tymbou airport which violates U.S. law and international law and does not serve the best interests of the United States in support of a proper solution to the reunification of Cyprus.

The AHI strongly supports visits to Cyprus, including the occupied area of Cyprus in the north, if they are done in a manner consistent with international law and U.S. law. The internationally recognized government of the Republic of Cyprus facilitates such visits from a legal and internationally recognized airport in the Republic of Cyprus, such as Larnaca and Paphos airports, to the various crossing points in the UN monitored buffer zone.

The congressional staff, who are taking part in this trip through the illegal Tymbou airport instead of the legal airports of Larnaca or Paphos, place themselves in a position of aiding and abetting the violation of the laws of the Republic of Cyprus, a friendly nation who has helped the U.S. substantially on many important occasions, and the violation of the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation of December, 1944. It further lends endorsement of the illegal occupation and violation of human rights by Turkey in Cyprus.

Finally, this trip has adverse effect against the legitimate government of Cyprus. A message would be sent that certain U.S. Congressmen do not support a resolution to the Cyprus problem that is consistent with UN resolutions and the rule of law. A viable solution to the Cyprus problem that is just and equitable to both sides would undoubtedly set a great example for the region, but supporting this trip will only serve to exacerbate the problem.

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House of Representatives

1. LeAnne Holdman, Senior Legislative Assistant
Office of Congressman Mike Pence (R-Indiana, 6th District)
Turkish Caucus, International Relations, Judiciary, Agriculture
Tel.: (202) 225-3021
Fax: (202) 225-3382
Email: LeAnn.Holdman@mail.house.gov
Internet: www.mikepence.house.gov

2. Megan Medley, Senior Legislative Assistant
Office of Congressman Robert B. Aderholt (R-Alabama, 4th District)
Turkish Caucus, Appropriations
Tel.: (202) 225-4876
Fax: (202) 225-5587
Email: megan.medley@mail.house.gov
Internet: www.house.gov/aderholt

3. Sean Hughes, Legislative Assistant
Office of Congressman Jim McDermott (D-Washington, 7th District)
Hellenic Caucus, Ways and Means
Tel.: (202) 225-3106
Fax: (202) 225-6197
Email: sean.hughes@mail.house.gov
Internet: www.house.gov/mcdermott

4. Stephen Schatz, Legislative Assistant
Office of Congressman Dan Burton (R-Indiana, 5th District)
Turkish Caucus, International Relations, Government Reform
Tel.: (202) 225-2276
Fax: (202) 225-0016
Email: stephen.schatz@mail.house.gov
Internet: www.house.gov/burton

5. Sarah Greer, Legislative Correspondent
Office of Congresswoman Kay Granger (R-Texas, 12th District)
Turkish Caucus, Appropriations
Tel.: (202) 225-5071
Fax: (202) 225-5683
Email: texas.granger@mail.house.gov
Internet: www.kaygranger.house.gov


1. Ike Brannon
Chief Economist for the Vice Chairman (Senator Robert F. Bennett, Republican, Utah)
Majority Staff, Joint Economic Committee
Tel.: (202) 224-5171
Fax: (202) 224-0240
Internet: www.jec.senate.gov

2. Elizabeth McDonnell, Legislative Assistant
Office of Senator Gordon H. Smith (Republican, Oregon)
Friend of Cyprus, Finance
Tel.: (202) 224-3753
Fax (202) 228-3997
Email: Elizabeth_mcdonnell@gsmith.senate.gov
Internet: www.gsmith.senate.gov

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Contact the offices of the seven congressional staff delegation to voice, in a courteous manner, your displeasure with their flying into Occupied Cyprus via the illegal Tymbou Airport in violation of the rule of law.

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  1. Did they realize they were in violation of the rule of law? Had they read the remarks on this subject by Senator Olympia Snowe on the Senate floor on July 29?
  2. Were they show the Turkish military bases with 40,000 illegal Turkish Troops with U.S.-supplied arms and equipment including hundreds of U.S. tanks?
  3. Were they shown the 300 plus churches vandalized by the Turkish forces?
  4. Were they shown the thousands of Greek Cypriot homes illegally occupied by the 120,000 illegal settlers from Turkey in violation of the Geneva Convention of 1949?
  5. Were they shown the Turkish barbed wire fence across the face of Cyprus which, together with their troops and settlers, is the cause of the economic and social isolation of the Turkish Cypriots?

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• All international airlines except for Turkish and Turkish Cypriot Airlines respect the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus and fly only into the legal ports of entry of the Republic of Cyprus

• Direct flights into occupied Cyprus are inconsistent with the principles of international law and are in violation of local Cypriot laws.

• The sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus is confirmed by U.N. Security Council

Resolutions 514 in 1983 and 550 in 1984.

• International law mandates that flights cannot enter a country’s airspace without consent of the sovereign government.

• The United States’ domestic law supports international law and the international custom of nations per the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation (1944).

The Chicago Convention binds all signatories, including the United States, Cyprus, and Turkey.

• The Republic of Cyprus has not authorized flights into occupied airports.

• Flights into occupied airports raise serious human and property right issues as the airports are located on seized property resulting from the illegal Turkish invasion.

• The Republic of Cyprus encourages visits to the occupied area through legal ports of entry, which is consistent with international law.

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For more information about the American Hellenic Institute in Washington, D.C., contact Georgia Economou, Director of Public Relations for AHI, at (202) 785-8430 or at georgia@ahiworld.org, or visit the groups' website at http://www.ahiworld.org. AHI was founded in 1974 following Turkey's illegal invasion and occupation of 37.3% of Cyprus. It is a membership-based organization with members throughout the nation. AHI's core mission is to promote American values and the rule of law in U.S. foreign policy and to strengthen relations between the U.S. and Greece and Cyprus as being in the best interests of the United States. It conducts an active program with Congress in espousing and supporting legislation designed to promote American interests in Southeast Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean and is registered with the Congress under the Lobbying Act. The AHI Foundation is the first think-tank devoted exclusively to the study of the issues confronting the Greek American community. This organization sponsors conferences, seminars and publishes books and other materials on the issues.

HCS maintains an extensive archives for AHI articles and press releases which visitors may browse under the American Hellenic Institute Releases section of the archives at http://www.helleniccomserve.com/contents.html.

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