The Cyprus government has protested to the State Department that a still-secret official U.S. report on human rights in Cyprus is slanted in favor of Turkey and soft-pedals charges that Turkish troops are harrassing Greek Cypriots.
The report is among those prepared by the State Department on 105 countries under a law requiring the administration to inform Congress annually on the human-rights situation in nations receiving U.S. military, economic or development aid.
Administration officials expect that when the reports are made public, probably within the next few days, they will provoke a storm of anger and protest from many of the countries involved.
Reinforcing this expectation of impending controversy was Cyprus' action in having its ambassador here lodge a strong protest with the department even before the reports are published.
Department sources acknowledged that the portest was made last week after officials of the Greek-dominated government on the island saw a copy of the report. The sources also said they could not comment on the protest until Congress releases the report.
However, a copy of the report obtained by The Washington Post shows the department concluding that there was little evidence to support charges of human-rights violations by Turkish forces on Cyprus during 1977.
In 1974, after years of strife between the island's Greek majority and Turkish minority, Turkish forces invaded Cyprus and occupied roughly 40 percent of its territory. Since then, between 150,000 and 200,000 Greek Cypriots have abandoned the Turkish-controlled area, charging that they were persecuted or forcibly evicted.
Congress, with an eye on America's sizable Greek-descended population, imposed an embargo on U.S. military aid to Turkey. It acted despite the objections of the State Department, which has contended that the embargo seriously impeded U.S. relations with Turkey and weakens western defenses on NATO's southern flank.
In protesting the human-rights report, the Cyprus government is understood to suspect the State Department of moving gingerly around Turkish sensibilities and trying to avoid a situation that could harden Congress' determination to keep the embargo in effect.
These charges are denied by State Department sources, who say the report represents a factual assessment of the situation based on the available evidence collected by U.S. diplomats.
The report notes that both sides have charged each other with frequent human-rights violations in the past, particularly during 1974. However, in assessing the situation during the past year, it finds no evidence of torture by either side, and says that charges of "murder, rape and inhuman treatment," while still made by both sides, are inconclusive in terms of proof.
In respect to Greek charges that Greek Cypriots were deliberately driven from their homes in the Turkish-controlled north, the report says:
"If there was in fact a deliberate eviction policy, it appears now to have been dropped. U.N. representatives have verified that those Greek Cypriots who moved from the north to the Greek-controlled sector in the course of 1977 clearly did so of their own accord."