For Immediate Release: July 30, 2008
Contact: Nikolaos Taneris, New York, Tel. 1-917-699-9935
NEW YORK--The Cyprus Action Network of America (CANA) sends a message of solidarity to our brothers and sisters in the Chicago Council on Justice for Cyprus.
James N. Chiakulas, President, Chicago Council on Justice for Cyprus recently issued a press release calling for unity amongst all Cyprus groups in America. Unfortunately, the issue of territorial “turf wars” and egos (together with recent incidents of reported censorship and biased control of Greek-American media by larger “lobbies”) have undermined the grass-roots efforts of local Cyprus organizations, an issue that reportedly has been raised in the Cyprus political scene, especially in regards to possible support for initiatives by political organizations such as CANA.
Mr. Chiakulas calls “ for cooperation among the various Greek American congressional lobbying groups” , although CANA does not like to view itself as a lobby, we are a registered political organization for the Cyprus cause, we just recently, successfully filed with the Department of State of New York, as an incorporated Political Organization, meaning that CANA can organize and operate primarily to earn and directly accept contributions to influence the selection of any individual to public office. Effectively, CANA can directly be involved in sponsoring candidates for our cause.
We must challenge the status quo with coalition building, media attention, and bold public action to make the world aware of the suffering in Cyprus. CANA remains determined to work in coalition with all people of conscience, and urges the participation of all Hellenic societies in the cause of freedom for our Occupied Cypriot land and, remains firm in its commitment to secure full recognition and justice for Turkey’s crimes.
CANA invites Hellenes, in the homeland and throughout the Diaspora, to share their views regarding these remarks by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Press Release from James N. Chiakulas is reproduced below, please help us to distribute it widely:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CYPRUS COUNCIL PRESIDENT CALLS FOR SPECIAL ENVOY
TO RESOLVE SPLIT IN GREEK AMERICAN CONGRESSIONAL LOBBY
Chicago, Illinois : James Newport-Chiakulas, President of the Chicago Council on Justice for Cyprus , called on newly-elected Cyprus President Demetris Christofias to appoint a special envoy or legislative liaison to work for cooperation among the various Greek American congressional lobbying groups.
Council President Chiakulas stated, “Our local Justice for Cyprus committee has been working since 1955 on the issue of Cyprus both nationally and in the Chicago area. Yet, the major Greek American congressional lobbying groups have not worked together and this lack of unity is hurting our cause. We need collaboration and a national strategy otherwise our time, effort and money will continue to have limited value. It is a shame that we cannot obtain a meeting with the U.S. Secretary of State because she would have to meet separately with each lobbying group as Assistant Secretary of State Nicholas Burns did in 2006. By being divided we diminish our effectiveness.”
Chiakulas continued: “I do not believe the local communal talks between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots will succeed and the EU will not admit Turkey in this era of Islamic extremism. We have concluded that only firm action by the U.S. government will effect a settlement in Cyprus . It is our hope that a unified Greek American lobby and a new administration in Washington will be a catalyst to that end.”
The contents of President Chiakulas’ letter the Cyprus President is as follows:
His Excellency, Demetris Christofias July 17, 2008
Dear President Christofias:
I am writing to congratulate you on your election as president of the Republic of Cyprus , and to introduce myself and the Chicago Council on Justice for Cyprus .
The Council was formed in 1955 by my father, Charles J. Chiakulas, who was sent to Cyprus by the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions and the AFL-CIO to help organize trade unions in Cyprus . He returned to Chicago after the first of many visits to Cyprus and formed the Council along with Mr. Basil Portocalis, Dr. Christopher Costis and Dr. Theodosis Kioutas. Since 1955 our Justice for Cyprus Council has actively educated the Hellenic community and the general public as regards the Cyprus issue. Further, we have aggressively expressed our views over the years to the Illinois congressional delegation and local political leaders – who often become national leaders like Senator Barack Obama.
Our most successful endeavor occurred when my father as CCJC president organized a coalition of Greek Americans to lobby President Lyndon Johnson and Secretary of State Dean Rusk to intervene in the planned “Operation Attila” or invasion of Cyprus in 1964. My father worked with Congressman Roman Pucinski to lead a delegation of Greek Americans to meet Secretary of State Dean Rusk and Joseph Sisco, head of Mid-Eastern Affairs.
In May of 2006 I met with Ambassador Euripides Evriviades and expressed the Council’s views on the current fragmented lobbying situation in the U.S. I have attached my letter to him for your information and a letter to the current Ambassador, Andreas Kakouris. In sum, we strongly believe the key to success in resolving the Cyprus problem is a unified, coordinated American lobby with a national strategy. We believe the vast majority of Hellenic leaders agree with this position. Indeed, in 2007 the HANC Board of Directors voted unanimously to pursue this goal, and the current USA Coordinator of SAE, Ted G. Spyropoulos, also concurs with this view.
The Chicago Justice for Cyprus Council’s position is that the only way to achieve this goal is for the Cyprus government to appoint an individual who shall serve a legislative liaison to lead the American lobbying effort and coordinate the activities of the various Hellenic lobbying groups. It is our belief that the only path to the removal of Turkish troops and a fair resolution of the unification of Cyprus is pressure by the American government brought about by a coordinated Greek American congressional lobby.
Finally, we believe the advent of a new American administration necessitates a bold initiative on the part of the Cyprus government.
Very truly yours,
James N. Chiakulas
President, Chicago Council on Justice for Cyprus
5320 N. Sheridan Road #1703
Chicago, IL 60640
773.882-4550 CyprusChgo@aol.com or JNC@aol.com
Cyprus Action Network of America (CANA)
2578 Broadway #132
New York, NY 10025
New York: Tel. 917-699-9935
The Cyprus Action Network of America (CANA) is a grass-roots, not-for-profit movement created to support genuine self-determination and human rights for the people of Cyprus.
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