Volume 28 Number 223 — January 15, 2002
AHI GENERAL NEWS
MESSAGE FROM AHI Founder
On behalf of all of us at the American Hellenic Institute (AHI), I extend to you our very best wishes for a Happy and Healthy New Year and thank you for your continued support.
AHI had another memorable year in 2001 with a flurry of activities and initiatives underscored by the 64 press releases that were issued. AHI authored the “Greek American Policy Statements” for 2001, which were reviewed and approved by the major membership organizations. They established the common policy themes pursued during the year.
We presented testimony before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations and initiated legislation restricting U.S. assistance of any kind to Turkey until Turkey uses its influence with the Turkish Cypriot leadership to achieve a settlement on Cyprus based on UN Security Council resolutions (H.R. 2707) and regarding the maritime borders between Greece and Turkey in the Aegean, H.Con.Res.97. In addition, AHI sponsored the annual Congressional Salute to Greek Independence Day.
The Annual Awards Dinner was a record setter and the dinner in New York to honor Michael Cacoyannis was a memorable affair.
The Business Network was active again, hosting several networking receptions throughout the country and making many connections along the way.
Our executive director had another busy year traveling the country, attending numerous fundraisers and spreading the word regarding the AHI. It culminated in his end of the year trip to Greece where he helped to establish our most current chapter in Thessaloniki.
Hellenic House continues to be a showcase for Greek Americans visiting Washington and dignitaries from Greece and Cyprus. Last year saw many such visits. And speaking of Hellenic House, in 2001 we have made great progress in reducing the mortgage thanks to our good friends James and Nike Lagos and their $25,000 Challenge. Thanks to their initiative, four persons have stepped up and donated $25,000. The mortgage now stands below $100,000. We will make every effort to have Hellenic House debt-free in 2002.
A major highlight of the year was the release of our new book published by the American Hellenic Institute Foundation (AHIF) on Greece’s Pivotal Role in World War II and Its Importance to the U.S. Today with an introduction by General Andrew J. Goodpaster, USA (Ret.), former Supreme Commander of NATO. This volume is designed to illuminate Greece’s pivotal efforts in World War II and to set forth the reasons for Greece’s importance to the U.S. today. I am pleased to say that the book has sold well and received very good reviews.
I am pleased to announce that we are initiating this year the “First Annual Conference on Hellenism in America” on September 27-29, 2002. Stay tuned for additional details in the coming months.
The major event of 2001 was, of course, the horrific international terrorist attacks of September 11. It is without doubt a day that changed all our lives.
We face a number of challenges in 2002 in the interests of the U.S. The first challenge is to give full and proper support to our government in the war on international terrorism. On September 12, AHI issued a strong statement condemning the attacks and supporting President Bush’s call for action.
On September 13, we wrote to President Bush supporting his action program, including actions against governments that supported international terrorism. Significantly, we included a paragraph on the importance of promoting American values in our foreign policy as a necessary element in the war on international terrorism.
We congratulate the Bush Administration on the enormous military success achieved by the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan against the Taliban government and the Al Qaeda operations in Afghanistan. We support the effort to pursue Osama Bin Laden and to root out the Al Qaeda networks worldwide.
Our first challenge includes stressing to the Administration and Congress the importance of the parallel mission of supporting our American values, spearheaded by the rule of law, in the war on international terrorism worldwide. Without such a full-scale parallel mission, it will be difficult to achieve full victory against Osama Bin Laden, Al Qaeda and other international terrorist organizations aimed at America.
Our strongest weapons in the battle for the minds and hearts of the global community are our values embodied in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, the most important documents in modern world history.
The second challenge is to convince the Administration and Congress to apply the rule of law to friend and foe alike as President Dwight D. Eisenhower did in October 1956 when he halted the aggression of October 30, 1956 by Britain, France and Israel against Egypt. In his memorable address to the Nation and the world on October 31, 1956, he stated:
Eisenhower’s words and action have direct application to Turkey’s aggression against Cyprus in 1974 and its continuing occupation of 37.3 percent of Cyprus to date. Eisenhower used the full moral authority of the U.S. and was prepared to use our full economic power against the aggressors, which would have meant bankruptcy for them.
President George H.W. Bush applied the rule of law to Saddam Hussein when Iraq invaded Kuwait on August 2, 1990. He immediately condemned Iraq’s invasion as “ naked aggression” and a violation of the United Nations Charter and called “for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all Iraqi forces” from Kuwait.
During the Persian Gulf War (Desert Shield and Desert Storm) President Bush stated:
“[W]e are determined to see this aggression end…We must demonstrate beyond any doubt that aggression cannot and will not pay.” (Sept. 9, 1990)
“We have before us the opportunity to forge for ourselves and for future generations a new world order where the rule of law, not the rule of the jungle, governs the conflict of nations.” (Jan. 16, 1991)
“What is at stake is more than one small country, it is a big idea: a new world order where diverse nations are drawn together in common cause to achieve the universal aspirations of mankind…peace and security, freedom and the rule of law.” (Jan. 29, 1991)
On February 27, 1991, President Bush announced to the nation that “Kuwait is liberated” and stated: “This is a victory for the United Nations, for all mankind, for the rule of law and for what is right.”
Former President Bush’s words have direct application to Turkey’s aggression against Cyprus in 1974 and its continuing occupation of 37.3 percent of Cyprus.
There is no legal difference between Iraq’s aggression against Kuwait in 1990 and Turkey’s aggression against Cyprus in 1974 that would militate against a comparable response against Turkey by the world community. The practical differences are that Turkey is a NATO ally and Cyprus has no oil.
The double standard on aggression and the rule of law applied by the U.S. and NATO to Turkey is a stain on the honor of the U.S. and NATO and has been and is harmful to U.S. interests. The U.S. double standard position on Turkey was initiated by then Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger in 1974 when he supported Turkey’s aggression by deliberately violating U.S. law and his oath of office by refusing to halt arms to Turkey as required by U.S. law.
The third challenge is to strengthen our efforts with the Congress. Anyone interested in devoting some time to this important work by joining the AHI Public Affairs Committee’s Congressional Contact Leadership Team (CCLT) should contact AHI’s Executive Director Nick Larigakis at (202) 785-8430 or e-mail email@example.com. Turkey spends millions of dollars annually on lobbying. We can counter that effort by our citizens lobby.
The fourth challenge is to strengthen our efforts with the mainstream media—newspapers, TV and radio news programs. We need media teams in the 100 largest cities visiting their newspapers, TV and radio news studios, writing letters to the editors and submitting articles for publication. Turkey spends millions of dollars annually on its propaganda and disinformation campaign. We can counter Turkey’s effort by our media teams.
The fifth challenge is to educate the academic community and think tanks on our issues and to activate them to support our issues in the best interests of the U.S.
The sixth challenge is to stay united on our policy issues and do everything possible to promote our policies in the interests of the U.S.
By meeting these challenges, we will be advancing U.S. interests, not just regarding Greece, Cyprus and Turkey, but worldwide in the struggle against international terrorism.
AHI Executive Director’s Visit to Greece Achieves Positive Results, Cooperation with Key Leaders
AHI Executive Director Nick Larigakis and AHI Advisory Committee member Kostas Alexakis recently completed a trip to Greece during the week of November 26 December 1, 2001, traveling to Athens and Thessaloniki. They held a series of meetings with key government officials and business leaders for the purpose of facilitating the organization’s goals and objectives in Greece. The meetings also focused on engendering new areas of mutual cooperation and development between leaders in Greece and the Greek American community.
Messrs. Larigakis and Alexakis arrived in Athens on Sunday, November 26, looking forward to meetings with a number of government officials, business and community leaders.
A highlight of the trip was the AHI team’s visit to the U.S. Embassy for a meeting with U.S. Ambassador to Greece Thomas J. Miller and the Embassy’s Counselor for Commercial Affairs Walter Hage. The group discussed continuing cooperation, and arrangements were made for the AHI to host Ambassador Miller at a dinner in Washington, DC on January 18, 2001.
While at the U.S. Embassy, Mr. Larigakis also met with Lela Margiou, the Cultural Attaché. Discussion centered on forging paths toward additional cooperation regarding cultural themes.
In his outreach to Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou’s office, Mr. Larigakis met with Marialena Conalis-Kontou to discuss U.S.-Greece relations and the Greek American community’s involvement in further enhancing this positive relationship.
Athens 2004 Organizing Committee (ATHOC) leaders met with Messrs. Larigakis and Alexakis regarding possibilities for cooperation between AHI and ATHOC, and for extending promotional opportunities in the U.S. for the 2004 Olympics. The ATHOC representatives included International Media Desk Manager Ioannis Fourlis and Manager for Greeks Abroad Demetra Egan.
Mr. Larigakis’ itinerary also included two separate visits with Odyssey Magazine’s new management team, Publisher Nikiforos Antonopoulos and General Manager Rozana Papadopoulos. Both meetings focused on additional exposure for the AHI and for Greek American issues in general to be featured in the publication.
Also on the media front, Mr. Larigakis spoke with Nikos Konstandaras, Chief Editor of Kathimerini newspaper’s English edition, which provides news coverage of Greece for the International Herald Tribune in Greece. On November 15, 2001, Kathimerini published a book review on AHI Foundation’s most recent publication titled Greece’s Pivotal Role in World War II and Its Importance to the U.S. Today.
Meetings later in the week with Eleftherios Antonakopoulos President, Federation of Greek Industries), Stephanos Costopoulos (President, American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce) and Efthimios Mouratidis (Investment Project Manager, ELKE Hellenic Center for nvestment) centered on promoting more extensive cooperation between AHI and the three organizations in order to facilitate business investment and trade between the U.S. and Greece.
AHI Athens Chapter Reception
The AHI Athens Chapter reception was held on November 28, 2001 at the N.J.V. Athens Plaza Hotel at Syntagma Square. Nick Larigakis welcomed around 70 members and friends to the event.
The reception also provided the occasion to bid thanks to the Athens Chapter’s outgoing president, Costas Ioannou, and to formally introduce its new president, Elias Malevitis. Mr. Malevitis is a practicing attorney and former member of Greek Parliament. A special thank you dinner honoring Mr. Ioannou is scheduled for the springtime.
Long-time AHI member and supporter Ted Spyropoulos, President of the Chicago-based Hellenic American National Council (HANC), sponsored the event.
Inaugural AHI Thessaloniki Chapter Reception
The AHI trip proceeded to Thessaloniki where on November 30, 2001, a reception was held to inaugurate AHI’s Thessaloniki Chapter and to welcome its new president, Alkis Panagoulias. Mr. Panagoulias is a long-time member and supporter of AHI’s mission and work. His leadership experience in politics and athletics are a strong asset from which AHI’s Thessaloniki Chapter can benefit enormously.
The Thessaloniki Chapter’s reception was held at the restaurant “Ta Nisia,” with the sponsorship of two local companies, Swiss Golfer and Averof. Instrumental to this event were the organizing efforts of Fotini Gidimopoulou.
The AHI team returned to Athens on Saturday and departed for Washington on December 2, having completed a successful round of meetings and events. The goal of promoting AHI’s business and policy objectives in Greece was met, as new ideas for cooperation were forged between the AHI leadership and its counterparts in the governmental and private sectors in Greece.
Conference on U.S. Relations with Greece Offers Insights, Recommendations
On June 2, 2001, the American Hellenic Institute Foundation (AHIF) hosted a conference on “United States Relations with Greece in the Twentieth Century” in Washington, DC. Conference speakers analyzed the various elements that contribute to this longstanding relationship, including the political, economic, social and cultural links which have been constructed throughout the past century. Speakers also provided forecasts and recommendations on how to further strengthen and improve the relationship between the U.S. and Greece in the twenty-first century.
Conference chairperson Professor Van Coufoudakis, Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Indiana University-Purdue University, welcomed attendees. Panelists for the morning session were introduced by the first moderator for the day, Panagiotis C. “Aki” Bayz, Legal Counsel for the Hellenic American National Council (HANC). They included:
Following Professor Papacosma’s address, conference participants attended a luncheon honoring world-renowned historian William McNeill, Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Chicago. The luncheon session commenced with remarks from Demo Kolaras, the Executive Director of AHEPA. Professor McNeill was then introduced by Professor Iatrides. Professor McNeill’s address, titled “Reminiscing About Postwar Greece,” was covered by C-SPAN (www.c-span.org) and rebroadcast twice on June 4, 2001.
Professor McNeill reflected on his initial encounter and subsequent experiences as Assistant Military Attaché of the U.S. Embassy in Greece, beginning in 1944. He was then presented with the AHI Lifetime Achievement Award by Gene Rossides, thereby concluding the luncheon portion of the conference.
The conference’s afternoon panel, moderated by Maria Stamoulas, Vice President of the Hellenic American Women’s Council (HAWC), included:
The conference was held in cooperation with AHEPA and was sponsored by the Foundation for Hellenic Studies, the Hellenic American National Council (HANC) and HAWC. Conference benefactors included: Nick Bouras (Summit, NJ); George Chryssis (Weston, MA); Nick Karambelas (Washington, DC); James H. Lagos (Springfield, OH); Dr. Spiro Macris (Wilmington, NC); Jim and Ted Pedas (Washington, DC); John Politis (Boca Raton, FL); Gene Rossides (Washington, DC); Savvas Savopoulos (Bladensburg, MD); Ted G. Spyropoulos (Chicago, IL); and Stephen G. Yeonas (McLean, VA).
AHI GENERAL NEWS
AHI Honors Michael Cacoyannis
On June 9, 2001, AHIF honored the world-renowned Greek Cypriot film director Michael Cacoyannis with its Hellenic Heritage Lifetime Achievement Award. The gala dinner, held at the Grand Hyatt in New York City, drew an audience of distinguished guests and featured AHI Public Affairs Committee (AHIPAC) Chairman Nicholas E. Chimicles, Esq. as master of ceremonies and George Veras, President of Veras Communications, Inc. as the evening’s special guest speaker.
Following Mr. Veras’ tribute, Peter Tiboris, General Director and Musical Director of MidAmerica Productions and the Manhattan Philharmonic, introduced the evening’s entertainment. A series of four songs were performed in honor of Mr. Cacoyannis by Phillip Cokorinos, bass-baritone of the Metropolitan Opera, who was accompanied by pianist Kathy Olsen.
The evening’s events culminated with the presentation of the Hellenic Heritage Lifetime Achievement Award by Gene Rossides to Mr. Cacoyannis. In accepting his award, Mr. Cacoyannis extended his thanks to AHI for the evening’s honor. He also thanked the Greek and Greek American public, as well as the American public at-large for being so receptive and supportive of his work.
Also delivering brief comments at the event were: Andonios Neroulias, dinner chairperson; and Evan Lambrou, Managing Editor of the Hellenic Times, speaking on behalf of the evening’s honorary dinner chairpersons, Margo and John Catsimatides.
Co-chairpersons for the event were: Nicholas Chimicles (Philadelphia, PA); James H. Lagos (Springfield, OH); James L. Marketos (Washington, DC); Chris C. Pappas, Esq. (New York, NY); Gene Rossides (Washington, DC); Peter Tiboris (New York, NY); Amb. Loucas Tsilas (New York, NY); George Spyropoulos (Caracas, Venezuela); and Ted G. Spyropoulos (Chicago, IL). James and Niki Lagos helped to underwrite the event.
AHI letters to the editor were published in several major national publications, including The New York Times and The Washington Times. Brief summaries of each of the responses attest to AHI’s continued commitment to address the various issues appearing in the media which concern its members and the Greek American community at-large:
Greece’s AdaptabilityThe New York Times, June 19, 2001
On June 19, 2001, The New York Times (NYT) published a letter from the AHI’s Media Relations Director, Chrysoula Economopoulos, responding to an editorial by columnist Thomas L. Friedman titled “Zorba the Euro.” While Mr. Friedman gave veiled praise to Greece’s European Union (EU) integration progress, he used of a number of negative stereotypes and generalizations which were countered by AHI’s letter.
The letter points out that Greece is experiencing a pull between the social, political and economic forces of EU integration and what appears to be an opposite tendency to reassert local culture. However, Ms. Economopoulos pointed out that, “Greek culture is both resilient and adaptable. Its resilience is proved by an almost 4,000-year history….Greece has always adapted its local culture to the surrounding conditions, while at the same time maintaining certain defining cultural traditions and its language.” Mr. Friedman’s characterization, while laudatory of Greece’s EU integration, “is an oversimplification of a rich culture that has much to offer its European Union partners.”
Turkey to blame for Cyprus problem”
The Washington Times, October 5, 2001
Mr. Larigakis concludes his commentary by asserting: “It is critical that all references to Turkey’s presence on the island of Cyprus confront the fact that the military-controlled government of Turkey is the guilty party in the Cypriot problem.”
Turkish Cypriots achieve nothing by antagonism”
The Washington Times, November 20, 2001
In response to a November 13, 2001 letter to the editor by Ahmet Erdengiz, a Washington-based Turkish Cypriot, Nick Larigakis’ letter to the editor was published on November 20, 2001 in The Washington Times. Mr. Erdengiz’s letter erroneously contends that, under international law, the EU cannot admit the full island of Cyprus as a member state.
Mr. Larigakis points out that as recently as November 9, 2001, Jeremy Greenstock, the United Kingdom’s (UK) permanent representative to the United Nations, refuted similar assertions that Cyprus’ application to the EU was illegal and that the UK was obliged by the terms of the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee to veto Cyprus’ accession. According to Greenstock’s comments, which were cited in Mr. Larigakis’ letter, “The fact that there is no legal barrier to Cyprus’ membership is clear from the actions and statements of other European Union member states, the Commission and the United Nations Security Council.”
Mr. Larigakis concluded by asserting that recent boisterous threats made by the Turkish government to annex the occupied territory only prolongs a just resolution on Cyprus and fuels tensions in an already volatile region.
AHI has also sent letters to The Washington Post, The New York Times and USA Today on separate occasions in response to articles appearing in these newspapers. These letters were not published:
AHI Condemns September 11 Attacks, Extends Condolences and Support
On September 12, 2001, AHI’s Founder Gene Rossides issued the following statement in response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the United States:
“The AHI strongly condemns the horrific terrorist attacks launched against the United States on September 11, 2001, and extends its deepest sympathies and support to the families and friends of the victims in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. AHI strongly supports President George W. Bush and his administration in their decisions on addressing this threat. It is critical in a crisis situation such as this that we all stand together behind our President and his administration. We support a strong and aggressive stance against those who perpetrated this heinous attack.”
Ecevit’s Threats to Annex Occupied Cyprus Contested
Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit recently threatened to annex the occupied zone of Cyprus upon accession of the Republic of Cyprus to the European Union (EU). In a statement released on November 9, 2001, AHI condemned these threats as inflammatory and counterproductive, particularly given the current international crisis resulting from the September 11 terrorist attacks:
AHI urged President Bush and Congress to remain steadfast in their support of Cyprus’ current progression toward EU membership, and to press Turkey and Turkish Cypriot leadership to abandon their intransigent position and reopen negotiations toward a legal and just settlement for Cyprus.
AHI also urges members and friends to write to the President and their representatives and senators in Congress condemning Turkey’s most recent threats and in support of Cyprus’ accession.
Thomas J. Miller
On September 12, 2001, AHI welcomed U.S. Ambassador to Greece, Thomas J. Miller, for a briefing and luncheon. The events were held to meet and congratulate the new ambassador, and to discuss key issues in U.S. relations with Greece. The briefing took place at the Hellenic House, and was followed by a luncheon at the Capital Hilton. Present during the event were AHI leadership and staff, and other representatives of the Greek American community.
Ambassador Miller stressed that he looks forward to continuing the positive relationship which already exists between the U.S. Embassy in Greece and prominent Greek American organizations such as AHI: “AHI plays an important role in the political system by promoting discussion and action on key issues related to Greece and Cyprus.” The ambassador also emphasized the strong civic role played by Greek Americans in the U.S.
The moderator for the briefing and luncheon was AHI Chairman James Marketos, Partner at Berliner, Corcoran & Rowe, L.L.P. Extending their thanks and warmest congratulations to Ambassador Miller were: AHI Advisory Committee members Kostas Alexakis (Chairman, Public Sector Solutions) and Nick Karambelas (Partner at Sfikas, Karambelas & Akaras, L.L.P.); George Christakos, entrepreneur; Demo Kolaras, Executive Director of AHEPA; Jim and Ted Pedas, longtime AHI members; Manny Rouvelas, Chairman of Preston Gates Ellis and Rouvelas Meeds, L.L.P.; Chris Zirps, President of AHI’s Northern Virginia chapter; Gene Rossides; and Nick Larigakis.
On September 13, 2001, AHI hosted a reception in honor of Dr. George Vassiliou, Chief Negotiator for Cyprus Accession to the European Union (EU), and former President of Cyprus (1988-1993). Dr. Vassiliou was in Washington, DC on a working visit to discuss progress on Cyprus’ accession to the EU and on the Cyprus problem with key leaders in Congress, American policymakers and the general public.
In addressing the reception’s attendees, Dr. Vassiliou first extended his condolences and words of support to the American people in the wake of the terrorist attacks on the U.S.
Dr. Vassiliou also highlighted the current status of the Cyprus EU accession process, and provided a brief summary of conversations held with representatives from the Bush Administration and members of Congress during this trip to the U.S.
Distinguished guests included Ambassador of Cyprus to the U.S. Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis, and the Minister DCM of the Greek Embassy in Washington Alexios Christopoulos.
Head of the Greek Foreign Minister’s Diplomatic Office
AHI Noon Forum Features Stanley Kober Discussing Baku-Ceyhan Pipeline
On September 26, 2001, the AHI Noon Forum series featured Dr. Stanley Kober, Research Fellow in Foreign Policy Studies at the Cato Institute. Dr. Kober’s presentation, titled “Misguided Support for the Baku-Ceyhan Pipeline,” analyzed the economic and political viability of and drawbacks to U.S. support of a proposed pipeline project from Baku, Azerbaijan to the Turkish port of Ceyhan.
Through his research, the speaker concluded that the pipeline project, far from promoting U.S. interests in the Central Asian region, in fact undermines them.
Dr. Kober’s presentation at AHI’s Noon Forum was based on an October 31, 2000 Cato Foreign Policy Briefing titled, “The Great Game, Round 2: Washington’s Misguided Support for the Baku-Ceyhan Oil Pipeline.”
PUBLIC AFFAIRS COMMITTEE
AHI Action Alerts Support Human Rights, EU Accession for Cyprus
On May 4, 2001, AHI issued an action alert urging support of S.Con.Res.28 regarding human rights violations against Greek Cypriots in the occupied areas of Cyprus. The Senate resolution, introduced on March 26, 2001 by Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME), calls for “a United States effort to end restrictions on the freedoms and human rights of the enclaved people in the occupied areas of Cyprus.” Co-sponsors include Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Sen. Robert Torricelli (D-NJ), Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA), and Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D-MD).
The resolution, resolved by the U.S. Senate with the House of Representatives concurring, “strongly urges the President to undertake efforts to end restrictions on the freedoms and human rights of the enclaved people in Cyprus,” and “expresses its intention to remain actively interested in the matter until the human rights and fundamental freedoms of the enclaved people of Cyprus are restored, respected, and safeguarded.”
On July 17, 2001, AHI issued an action alert in support of H.Con.Res.164. The resolution, introduced on June 19, 2001 by Rep. Michael Bilirakis (R-FL), expresses the support of the U.S. for the accession of Cyprus to the EU. As of December 18, 2001, 65 cosponsors had signed on to the resolution.
Working in a local capacity, AHI released an action alert to its Alabama members on August 28, 2001 regarding an inaccurate proclamation issued by Governor Donald Siegelman that commemorated events from 1912-1922 in Turkey. The alert urged members to call and write to Governor Siegelman requesting that he withdraw the proclamation on the grounds that it promoted a false account of history. The proclamation was eventually retracted by the Governor.
AHI applauds the efforts of the Greek American community in Alabama and across the U.S. for their commitment to this effort, and congratulates Governor Siegelman for his sensitivity and for the symbolic and precedent-setting importance of his retraction.
AHI Releases Fourth Update on Turkish Compliance with European Union Accession
As an aid for policymakers in the Executive Branch and Congress, AHI has prepared a fourth overview of Turkey’s compliance record with European Union (EU) accession conditions, based on events taking place during the period of February 1, 2001 to June 30, 2001. The three accession conditions evaluated include:
The AHI noted with concern in its Compliance Report that Turkey’s efforts during this period for each of the three conditions were negative. With respect to the first EU pre-condition concerning Turkey’s unilateral territorial claims in the Aegean, Turkey steadily pursued its expansionist policy and continued to challenge sovereign Greek territory.
With respect to Cyprus, the intransigence of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots intensified during this period. Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash continued his refusal to engage in UN and G8 sponsored proximity talks. Turkish Foreign Minister Ismael Cem threatened that the Turkish reaction to Cyprus’ EU membership “would have no limits.” The European Court of Human Rights delivered its judgment on May 10, 2001 in the case of Cyprus v. Turkey, where it found that Turkey violated nearly every article of the European Convention of Human Rights.
Regarding compliance with the 1993 Copenhagen Criteria, Turkey again made negative steps. Among other things, the Turkish government recently banned the Islamist Virtue Party, jailed and tortured 28 Kurdish children who shouted “Damn Turkey,” and continued its crackdown on nonviolent political prisoners who are on a hunger strike to obtain more humane prison conditions. A recent EU statement condemned Turkey’s treatment of these political prisoners, noting that “Every further death due to the hunger strikes would increase the concern and horror felt by the European Parliament and public.”
Further updates will be issued on a quarterly basis.
Turkey’s Invasion of Cyprus Challenged in Statement
On the 27th anniversary of Turkey’s 1974 invasion of Cyprus, AHI issued a statement condemning this unlawful act. Excerpts from the statement appear below:
“Twenty-seven years have now passed since Turkey perpetrated its brutal invasion of the Republic of Cyprus with American arms and equipment, in violation of U.S. laws, the UN Charter, the NATO Treaty and international law.”
“Although the Cyprus problem has been on the international agenda throughout this time, efforts to solve the problem have not been successful due to the intransigence of the military-controlled government of Turkey. This absence of progress damages important U.S. interests in southeast Europe and the eastern Mediterranean, and compromises the fundamental American values of the rule of law and respect for human rights.”
“The U.S. bears a national responsibility for the Cyprus tragedy of 1974 because of the actions of Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in encouraging the illegal coup against President Makarios on July 15, 1974, the illegal invasion of Cyprus by Turkey on July 20, 1974, and his unlawful conduct in failing to halt immediately arms to Turkey as required by U.S. law.”
The AHI statement concluded with a series of suggestions aimed at breaking the long-standing deadlock in negotiations.
AHI Testimony Calls for U.S. Diplomatic, Political and Economic Pressure on Turkey
AHI Founder Gene Rossides submitted testimony on June 29, 2001 to the House International Relations Subcommittee on Europe in which he called on the U.S. to exert diplomatic, political and economic pressure on Turkey to resolve the Aegean and Cyprus issues.
The 19-page testimony, responding to a June 13, 2001 subcommittee hearing on “U.S. Policy in the Eastern Mediterranean: Managing the Greece, Turkey, Cyprus Triangle,” voiced the AHI’s position and recommendations for policymakers regarding this region.
Mr. Rossides’ testimony stressed that the U.S. has critical interests in southeastern Europe and the eastern Mediterranean. Significant communication links for commerce and energy sources pass through this region. Furthermore, the U.S. can contribute to and benefit from the prospect of greater Balkan stability, the progression of EU enlargement talks, and enhanced regional cooperation and development.
A major focus of the testimony included recommendations for significantly revising U.S. policy toward Turkey, including the suggestion that the U.S. halt the application of a double standard to Turkey on the rule of law.
In concluding remarks, the AHI testimony asserted that the key to furthering U.S. interests in the southeast Europe and eastern Mediterranean regions is Greece, and the U.S. should develop a “special relationship” with Greece.
The testimony was submitted on behalf of AHI, the Hellenic American National Council (HANC), the Hellenic American Women’s Council (HAWC), the Evrytanian Association of America (Velouchi), the Pan Macedonian Association of America, the Pan Cretan Association of America, the Pan Laconian Federation of U.S.A. and Canada, and the Pan Karpathian Educational Progressive Association. For a full copy of the testimony, contact AHI headquarters at (202) 785-8430.
Key Issues, Support Emphasized in AHI Letters to President Bush
July 12, 2001
Specifically, the letter petitioned the U.S. to state publicly that: (1) the maritime boundary between Greece and Turkey in the Aegean Sea is clear and long-established by treaties and agreements; (2) the islet of Imia is sovereign Greek territory; and (3) if Turkey disagrees, she should take the matter to the International Court of Justice for binding arbitration.
The letter highlighted the importance of H.Con.Res.97, a bi-partisan resolution introduced on April 4, 2001 by Rep. Robert E. Andrews (D-NJ) which affirms the internationally recognized maritime boundary in the Aegean.
September 13, 2001
The letter states that AHI “supports strong and aggressive action against those who perpetrated these heinous attacks.”
Also highlighted in the letter was the importance of upholding American values, spearheaded by the rule of law:
“Our response to the terrorists who committed these acts should be paralleled with a crusade for the promotion of American values of freedom, liberty, democracy, the rule of law and human rights worldwide and in all of our foreign policy decisions.”
November 21, 2001
On November 21, 2001, Gene Rossides sent a letter to President Bush rebutting erroneous statements regarding Turkey that appeared in a joint letter to the President signed by 36 Representatives on November 9, 2001. As stated in AHI’s letter, the November 9 letter “contained false and misleading statements given to those Representatives by Turkey’s military and political officials and Turkey’s U.S. foreign agents.”
AHI’s letter responded primarily to erroneous assertions regarding Turkey’s reliability as a U.S. ally, the mistreatment of Turkey’s Kurdish minority, and a request for debt forgiveness, trade concessions, or multilateral aid made by the 36 Representatives. The AHI letter also paid specific attention to highlighting Turkey’s “international terrorism” against Cyprus.
Mr. Rossides strongly urged the President to consider the pitfalls behind additional economic support for Turkey without preconditions for meaningful economic and political reforms, and the need for a just settlement of the Cyprus problem in accordance with UN resolutions.
On November 28, 2001, AHI also sent copies of its letter to President Bush to each of the 36 Representatives who had signed the November 9 letter urging additional support for Turkey. In the cover letter, the Representatives were urged to consider withdrawing their November 9 letter in view of its factual inaccuracies.
Ted Galen Carpenter Assesses U.S. Foreign Policy Toward Turkey
On June 28, 2001, AHI held a briefing on Capitol Hill, featuring Dr. Ted Galen Carpenter, Vice President for Defense and Foreign Policy Studies at the Cato Institute. Dr. Carpenter spoke on “United States Foreign Policy Toward Turkey: Assessing the Relationship.” The briefing drew more than 45 attendees, mostly Congressional staff members and policy analysts for the Balkan region.
In his analysis, Dr. Carpenter countered the conclusion that Turkey is one of the United States’ most important strategic partners. Dr. Carpenter’s overall recommendation to U.S. foreign policymakers is to view Turkey more critically and to avoid being Turkey’s “enabler when it comes to aggressive or irresponsible policies.” While the potential exists for Turkey to play a stabilizing and democratic role in the region, that is not the Turkey that exists today. It is up to U.S. foreign policymakers to push Turkey in that direction.
BUSINESS NETWORK AT WORK
AHI NOVA Chapter Actively Promotes Local Events for Members
Through the efforts of chapter President Chris Zirps and a number of other key members such as Nick Kalis, the AHI Northern Virginia Chapter (AHI NOVA) has succeeded in reaching local AHI members with interesting cultural, business and community events on a bi-monthly basis.
A sample of the AHI NOVA Chapter’s most recent events include a ,iscussion on current market conditions and /ptions for investing in a downturned economy, Mnd a presentation regarding promotion of Greek arts and culture in the U.S.
Speakers for the first event, held on October 21, 2001, were Peter Barris, Managing General Partner for New Enterprise Association, and Chris Efessiou, CEO of Efessiou Group. Mr. Barris spoke on “The New Economy After the Bubble Burst,” and Mr. Efessiou addressed the topic of “Investing to Accommodate Downswings in the Market.” At the meeting, Nick Larigakis presented a plaque to member Nick Kalis for his efforts in establishing AHI NOVA.
The second event was held on November 30, 2001 at the home of Olga Polemitou and Roger Beatty in Vienna, VA. The speaker for the evening was Connie ourtoupalas, Cultural Attaché at the Embassy of Greece. Her discussion was titled, “Promoting Greek Arts and Culture in the United States.” The presentation also provided many cultural issues and challenges for the economic improvements and social changes in Greece as a result its EU membership.
“Today Show” Producer Headlines Two AHI Chapter Events
On June 3, 2001, the AHI Cincinnati Chapter hosted Dorie Klissas, producer for NBC’s “Today Show,” at a reception to garner additional support for the Hellenic House. Ms. Klissas discussed her experiences working at the “Today Show” and her career overall. The event was hosted by AHI members Tom and Joanna Caneris at their home in Cincinnati, OH. Guests were welcomed by AHI Cincinnati Chapter President Kiki Christofield, with Executive Director Nick Larigakis briefing attendees on fundraising progress of Hellenic House.
Ms. Klissas was also the special guest speaker at the AHI Delaware Chapter’s networking breakfast on November 3, 2001 at the Hotel DuPont in Wilmington, DE. In addition to discussing her experiences working at the “Today Show,” she also presented segments from a recent broadcast that focused on The Christina, the Onassis yacht which was recently renovated and purchased privately. The event, originally scheduled for September 15, 2001, had been postponed to the latter date due to the tragic events of September 11.
Reviving New York
The tragic events and aftermath of September 11 have reverberated throughout the world—socially, politically and economically—and will remain seared in our consciousness forever. While many communities have reexamined their systems of response and recovery, New York City and the surrounding region has been hit directly and especially hard by the terrorist attacks. As newly-appointed regional administrator for Region II of the Small Business Administration (SBA), former U.S. Congressman Michael Pappas is playing a lead role in revitalizing the New York region’s beleaguered economy.
The SBA’s Region II encompasses the states of New York and New Jersey, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In fiscal year 2001, SBA Region II provided 5,932 small businesses with guaranteed loans worth $1.1 billion dollars. The New York regional office, headed by Mr. Pappas, oversees district offices in New York City, Buffalo and Syracuse, NY; Newark, NJ; Hato Rey, P.R., and three branch offices located in Elmira, Rochester and Melville, NY.
The response of the SBA was immediate following the September 11 tragedy. The organization’s staff from New York City, New York State and New Jersey converged in lower Manhattan to meet with small business owners in order to apprise them of services—including disbursement of disaster loans—available through the SBA. Mr. Pappas points out that there are currently approximately four locations throughout New York City where SBA representatives disburse information and provide assistance to people in completing their loan applications.
Mr. Pappas also serves on the Federal Task Force to Rebuild New York City. Comprised of twelve members representing all federal agencies, this special task force meets weekly to coordinate their efforts and to ensure that each federal agency involved in New York City and the surrounding region’s relief and recovery is aware of what the other is undertaking. The task force also facilitates the sharing of information between its participants.
Early on, Mr. Pappas was one of the first to recognize the urgent need for a greater degree of coordination of efforts exerted by all involved in the relief and recovery efforts. In fact, he brought up the issue to the Federal Task Force. Mr. Pappas pointed out:
“It became clear to me that there needed to be a greater degree of coordination or at least interchange of information not just among the federal agencies, but among all agencies—other governmental entities as well as the private sector—because there are limited resources that the government has available to it and there are certain constraints within which the federal government, even the federal disaster response programs, have to work.”
Mr. Pappas recognizes that the September 11 response is moving into a second phase, which will be critical in determining long-term recovery of the region’s economy and resources. In his capacity at the SBA and in serving on the Federal Task Force to Rebuild New York City, Mr. Pappas is playing a central role in bringing the coordination of economic recovery efforts to the next level.
Mr. Pappas’ term in Congress, especially through his service on the National Security, Small Business and Government Reform committees, gave him a unique set of experiences and expertise while further broadening his perspective and knowledge of international activities and current events. This knowledge has been invaluable to his role in New York’s relief efforts.
Also greatly influencing this broader perspective is Mr. Pappas’ Hellenic heritage. He values and is proud of the contributions that the Greek people have made throughout history—from the times of ancient Greece through more modern times where Greece played a pivotal role in turning the tide of World War II. Equally as important Mr. Pappas asserts that, “Certainly, as an American of Greek descent, I have a great deal of pride in what our people, the Greek people, have done to establish this country not just through the historical points that I’ve mentioned, but also through what the Greek people do as American citizens today and how they contribute to our economy, and to our families, and to our government agencies.”
Michael Pappas provides one such positive example of how contributions from Greek Americans have made a critical difference and have added an element of diversity to the fabric of American culture and society. His tenure in Congress and current role in bringing back New York City full-force illustrate that his words and beliefs are backed by decisive action and commitment.
Making a Difference on The Hill
Since 1997, Christy Stefadouros has played a key behind-the-scenes role as a staff member for U.S. Congressman Michael Bilirakis (R-FL) and, more broadly, in promoting Hellenic issues on Capitol Hill. Currently, Ms. Stefadouros serves as Communications Director and Legislative Assistant for the Congressman, concentrating her attention on international relations and transportation issues. In the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks, these two issues have been high on the agenda of the U.S. Congress. Consequently, a typical workweek for Ms. Stefadouros has been anything but typical and nothing less than hectic.
As Communications Director, Ms. Stefadouros oversees the development and implementation of all media, communications and public relations strategy while also maintaining the Web site for Congressman Bilirakis. Her responsibilities as Legislative Assistant include the development and planning of legislative initiatives, monitoring legislative developments within the various Congressional committees and on the House floor, writing speeches for her member and tracking legislation and developments in her two areas of responsibility—international relations and transportation.
This already packed agenda of duties is accompanied by her involvement on the Congressional Hellenic Caucus. Formed in 1996 by Congressman Bilirakis and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)—both co-chairs—the Hellenic Caucus is currently comprised of 109 Congresspersons. Ms. Stefadouros’ role in this assemblage of Members of Congress interested in promoting Hellenic issues is pivotal as she serves as one of two key staff-level organizers, educators and promoters of the Hellenic Caucus and its issue agenda. For current members of the Hellenic Caucus, she reaches out to their staff to inform and update them on recent developments and legislative initiatives in which their member should be active. Ms. Stefadouros also informs other Members of Congress about the objectives of the Caucus and urges them to join. The success of all of these efforts can be gauged in part by the nearly twofold increase in membership in the Hellenic Caucus since Ms. Stefadouros began working for Rep. Bilirakis in 1997. This success points not only to the stability engendered from her veteran status on these issues, but also to vigilance and persistence in her work.
In relation to the issues, Ms. Stefadouros highlights five critical categories on which Greek and Cypriot Americans should focus their collective attention in order to induce important changes in government policies pertinent to Hellenic issues.
1. We must support Greece and its efforts to combat international and domestic terrorism.
Ms. Stefadouros points out that, with the current focus on combating terrorism and the fast-approaching 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, it is important to ensure that “Greece works closely with the U.S. to provide adequate security for the Olympic Games and squelch severe accusations from some sources in the U.S. of Greece being an unsafe place due to terrorism.”
2. We must support the entry of Cyprus into the EU over the objections and threats voiced by the government of Turkey.
In this effort, Congressman Bilirakis introduced legislation (H.Con.Res.164) in June 2001 voicing Congress’ support of Cyprus’ EU accession. According to Ms. Stefadouros, “The Administration has stated its support for Cyprus’ accession, but now it’s the Congress’ turn to express the same commitment in a unified voice…this will send a clear message to Turkey that the time has come for them to make a genuine effort at reaching a settlement for Cyprus for the benefit of their citizens.”
3. The U.S. must urge Turkey to withdraw its 35,000 troops stationed in the occupied lands in the northern part of Cyprus.
Ms. Stefadouros believes that not only are these troops unnecessary and represent an economic drain on Turkey’s faltering economy, but their continued presence in Cyprus poses a threat to the delicate and often volatile stability in the southeastern Mediterranean region.
4. The U.S. must discourage Turkey from pursuing highly provocative actions in the Aegean Sea.
Although a higher level of cooperation has been reached in recent years between Greece and Turkey in areas such as the environment, tourism, travel and business, further progress must be made to stabilize the region politically and militarily.
5. Greece must be removed from the list of countries whose citizens need visas to visit the U.S.
Although legislation eliminating the visitor’s visa requirement for Greek citizens was passed in U.S. about four years ago, its implementation is delayed by the lack of progress in the last of three conditions that must be met before the law is activated. This last condition provides for the creation of a computerized database in Greece that facilitates the tracking of people across borders. According to Ms. Stefadouros, “valuable time has already been lost and I think we all need to push together to have that condition met as soon as possible.”
To effectuate changes in these five and other areas of concern, Greek and Cypriot Americans should rely on Hellenic organizations such as AHI to remain apprised of and active in current developments. However, Ms. Stefadouros also urges Greek and Cypriot Americans to get involved on an individual level by contacting their representatives to express their positions on these numerous issues. Ms. Stefadouros asserts, “Yes, there are many Greek Americans that are very active and concerned about these issues, but a lot of people are not up-to-date on what’s going on or they feel that they can’t make a difference when in reality, they can.”
Possessing Greek values and traditions, coupled with American values and principles, Ms. Stefadouros believes Americans of Hellenic descent are blessed with the best of both worlds. It is their right and duty to make these positions heard at all levels of government.
For her part, Christy Stefadouros works daily to make her sizeable contribution toward resolving the five issue areas she outlined, in addition to the Congressional agenda. Because she has lived in four different countries and has traveled extensively, she has acquired a good amount of exposure to different cultures. This experience has broadened her professional horizons and, in conjunction with her studies in international affairs, enabled her to adapt admirably to the requirements of her current employment. Yet, it is her Hellenic heritage that has been her primary source of pride and inspiration in forging her career and in getting her to the place that she is today—on Capitol Hill, making a difference.
New Presidents Appointed for AHI Chapters in Thessaloniki, Athens and New York
In recent months, AHI announced the appointment of three new presidents to its local chapters in Thessaloniki, Athens and in the Greater New York Metropolitan area.
Long-time member and supporter Alkis J. Panagoulias will head up the inaugural chapter of AHI in Thessaloniki, Greece. Mr. Panagoulias’ leadership experience in politics and athletics are a strong asset from which the Thessaloniki chapter can benefit as it looks to expand and increase member involvement and activity.
Elias Malevitis has been appointed the new AHI Athens Chapter President. Mr. Malevitis is a practicing attorney and former member of Greek Parliament, serving from 1985-1990. In 1992, he served as Secretary General to the Vice President of the Greek Government. His outstanding connections to the community make him an asset in the Athens Chapter’s efforts to increase membership, activities and involvement.
Col. Andonios Neroulias, U.S.A. (Ret.) will serve as president of AHI’s Greater New York Metropolitan Chapter. He is one of the founding members of the AHI Business Network, which was initiated in 1989. Col. Neroulias’ accomplishments in this capacity and as a leader in both the business world and in the military make him ideally suited to expand the New York Chapter’s membership and to create a dynamic agenda from which all local AHI members and the community will benefit.
“LeBow College will continue its leadership in technology-driven business curriculum,” said Tsetsekos. Additionally, Tsetsekos plans to add MBAs in engineering and health administration and a BS/MBA program in engineering in addition to establishing professorships in accounting, finance, management information systems, marketing and strategy.
AHI GENERAL NEWS
AHI Letter and Fact Sheet to U.S. Governors Increases Awareness of Proclamations
On November 13, 2001, AHI sent a letter and corroborating Fact Sheet to 45 of 50 U.S. governors to alert them to the possibility of being presented with historically revisionist proclamations regarding Turkey. The five state governors not contacted in this manner—Donald Siegelman (Alabama), John G. Rowland (Connecticut), Jane Swift (Massachusetts), Gary Locke (Washington), and George H. Ryan (Illinois)—had already been contacted by AHI regarding proclamations previously issued in their states.
AHI’s letter notified U.S. governors of a possible campaign launched under the guise of commemorating “Turkish Republic Day,” “Turkish Independence Day,” or the “Turkish Zafer Holiday.” The alleged goal of the proclamations issued is to commemorate the accomplishments of Turkish Americans to their respective communities. However each proclamation has been erroneously framed in the context of historically revisionist information regarding genocide and other crimes committed against minority citizens of Turkey during the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in the early part of the twentieth century and thereafter.
The following state and local government officials have issued historically revisionist or factually inaccurate proclamations to date:
When presented with the historically and factually accurate information through the combined efforts of the Greek American community, the majority of these officials withdrew their proclamations. Governor Siegelman officially retracted a proclamation titled “Day of Remembrance of the Turkish Tragedy for Liberation to Sovereignty and Independence” on October 3, 2001. Governor Rowland retracted his proclamation commemorating the “Turkish Zafer Holiday” on October 25, 2001, while Mayor Peters issued a formal apology to the Greek and Armenian communities for issuing a similar proclamation on September 6, 2001. Governor Locke’s office issued a retraction letter on November 7, 2001 for his proclamation commemorating “Turkish Republic Day.”
AHI strongly encourages the recognition of contributions made to the community by ethnic and other groups. However, these contributions should not be framed in a context that denies the tragic historical realities of genocide and ethnic, religious and political violence. Recognition of the Turkish atrocities is crucial to preventing repetition of similar crimes in the future. The retractions issued to date take a firm stand and set an important precedent against the dangerous policy of denial and historical revisionism, and favor the prevention of similar atrocities in the future.
AHI will continue to monitor and respond to similar documents in the future, but also asks that members and friends contact AHI headquarters should they become aware of similar proclamations issued in their state. For more details regarding the AHI’s campaign against these inaccurate proclamations, visit our Web site atwww.ahiworld.org/press2001.html.