Friday, October 1, 2010

State Sets Secret Hearing on Cyprus MOU as Cypriot President Turns Smithsonian Opening into Anti-Turkish Propoganda Event

News of the upcoming public hearing on the proposed Greek MOU has overshadowed the fact that the State Department Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs has also set a secret hearing to address an interim review of the MOU with Cyprus. See

CPAC has conduced public hearings of interim reviews in the past (most recently on Italy), but it's no surprise that the State Department wanted to avoid any public comment here given the ongoing litigation about the controversial decision to extend import restrictions on coins. That's unfortunate. The public should be allowed to comment on whether Cyprus has been living up to its side of the MOU with the United States. It would also be an opportunity for the pubic to question the Cypriot claim that import restrictions are necessary because of the unfortunate division of the Island. See

Further on that score, I was disappointed to see that the President of Cyprus used the opening of a new exhibit of Cypriot antiquities at the Smithsonian to simultaneously bash Turkey and try to justify the Cypriot MOU. See

The division of Cyprus is indeed tragic. It is also true that Turkish forces have damaged or destroyed Greek Orthodox religious sites over the years. Still, Greek Cypriots are not blameless in all this, and indeed, many experts point to their intransigence as a reason the Island remains divided.

In any case, the Smithsonian presumably agreed to host the exhibit as a celebration of Cyprus' magnificent past rather than to provide a Cypriot politician with a platform on which to attack Turkey.

Shame on the Cypriot Government for using our national museum for such purposes.

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