Volume 30, Number 227 — September 30, 2003
AHI Delegation Completes Annual Trip to Greece and Cyprus
From May 18-31, 2003, American Hellenic Institute (AHI) leadership participated in its annual trip to Greece and Cyprus. The delegation held substantive talks with government officials, businessmen and academics in both countries, and some members of the group made a trip across the Green Line into Cyprus’s northern occupied territory.
In Cyprus, the delegation was comprised of AHI founder Gene Rossides, AHI Advisory Committee members Kostas Alexakis, Van Coufoudakis and Nick Karambelas, AHI members Gus Andy, Takey Crist, Andreas Pericli, Ph.D., and AHI Executive Director Nick Larigakis. In Athens, the group included Messrs. Rossides, Alexakis, Andy and Larigakis. They were joined by AHI Athens Chapter President Ilias Malevitis, former AHIPAC Chairman Dean Lomis and AHI members Nora Nikolopoulou and Dr. Christine Warnke.
The AHI delegation arrived in Cyprus on May 18 for a full schedule of meetings and events, beginning on May 19. The major highlight of the delegation’s visit to Cyprus was a meeting with President Tassos Papadopoulos for an hour and a quarter to discuss the current situation in Cyprus. The delegation also met with Dimitris Christofias, President of the Cyprus House of Representatives; George Iacovou, Foreign Minister of Cyprus; Marcos Kyprianou, Minister of Finance for Cyprus; Christodoulos Christodoulou, Governor of the Central Bank of Cyprus; and Government Spokesperson Kypros Chrysostomides.
The delegation was hosted for a briefing at the U.S. Embassy in Nicosia by U.S. Ambassador to Cyprus Michael Klosson and a discussion on the current issues regarding the Cyprus question.
The delegation also attended a dinner held in their honor by Spyros Stavrou, Senior Manager of the Management Services Division of the Central Bank of Cyprus, and was welcomed for a luncheon hosted by the Director of the Cyprus Press and Information Office Ioannis Solomou.
During their stay, major AHI benefactor George Paraskevaides welcomed the delegation to his office to discuss in particular the current status of the Cyprus question, and also hosted the group for a reception at the Cyprus Hilton prior to their departure.
Other highlights of the trip included a roundtable discussion on the topic of “Cyprus After the EU’s Enlargement and the Iraq War,” sponsored by the Research and Development Center—Intercollege and The Cyprus Institute of European and International Affairs. The Chair of the discussion was Emilios Solomou, Campus Director at Intercollege, and panel participants included Mr. Rossides, Dr. Van Coufoudakis, Rector at Intercollege, and Andreas Theophanous, Director General of the group sponsoring the event. Also, Mr. Rossides was interviewed for MEGA TV by Andreas Hadjikyriakos, and by Yannos Charalambides of the newspaper Simerini.
A historic highlight of the delegation’s stay in Cyprus was a day trip across the Green Line to the northern occupied zone of the country. Members of the delegation who crossed the Green Line included Messrs. Alexakis, Crist, Karambelas and Larigakis, and they were also joined by Dr. Crist’s aunt and cousin. The group traveled to Kyrenia, Belapais and Famagusta, visiting a number of churches along the way, some of which were abandoned, destroyed or turned into mosques.
According to Dr. Crist, Kyrenia had been “very built up. There are a lot of condos, villas.” Echoing these comments, Mr. Larigakis noted “the amount of development in Kyrenia and Belapais and the number of tourists, who seemed to be predominantly British.”
Upon visiting his grandfather’s home in occupied Belapais, Dr. Crist also noted: “We spoke to the lady that was living in [his home]. She’s a Cypriot Turk, she’s very nice. They built a floor on top of that house, and it was obvious to me that a lot of changes were made….The entire village of Belapais is not Belapais as we saw it back in the 1950s and 1960s.”
Of Famagusta, Dr. Crist observed that it was “very devastated....My cousin went underneath the barbed wire, saw his house—completely gutted....The Church of Ayia Zorni was destroyed, windows broken, smashed....The cross was broken off.”
The delegation concluded its visit to Cyprus and proceeded to Greece. In Athens, meetings were held during the week of May 24-31 with prominent government and industry officials, including most notably President of the Hellenic Republic Constandinos Stephanopoulos for a discussion on the current status of U.S.-Greece relations. The group also met with His Eminence Archbishop of Athens and all Greece Christodoulos; Constantinos Karamanlis, leader of the main opposition party Nea Dimokratia; Dora Bakoyianni, Mayor of Athens; Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs Ioannis Magriotis; Dimitris Dollis, General Secretary for Greeks Abroad; Ambassador Ioannis Mourikis, Director of the A7 Division (Greek American Relations) of the Greek Foreign Ministry; Ambassador Elias Clis, Director of the A4 Division (Turkish Affairs) of the Foreign Ministry; and Ambassador Constantine Tritaris, Director of the A2 Division (Cyprus Affairs) of the Foreign Ministry.
U.S. Ambassador to Greece Thomas Miller hosted a luncheon for the delegation at his residence. Attending the luncheon were prominent Greek businesspersons and key U.S. Embassy staff. The delegation also met with the Hellenic Parliament’s bipartisan Committee for Greeks Abroad, chaired by Member of Parliament Grigoris Niotis. During the intense hour and a half discussion with the committee, the delegation was asked for their opinion on U.S.-Greece relations, U.S. government views of Greece, the Cyprus problem, the Macedonia issue, and the status of Greek language education in the U.S.
On the academic side, A meeting was held with Dr. Dimitris Constas, Professor and Director of the Institute of International Relations at Panteion University, during which time both parties discussed cooperation on future projects, as well as various issues regarding U.S. relations with Greece and Cyprus.
Marking the delegation’s visit to Greece was a reception and dinner sponsored by the AHI Athens Chapter at the NJV Athens Plaza Hotel. Over 120 members, friends and supporters attended the event.
Mr. Larigakis was also interviewed for a promotional program—“Olimpiada Oli Ellada,” which is set to feature prominent individuals from abroad who will be volunteering for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. The program will be widely distributed via satellite internationally.
The trip activities concluded with a wonderful dinner hosted in honor of the AHI delegation at the home of AHI-Athens Chapter member Phillip Morakis.
AHI Hosts Conference on Capitol Hill on U.S. Relations With Turkey
More than 100 people attended the AHI Capitol Hill Conference on July 8, 2003 on “U.S. Relations with Turkey: The New Realities in the Post- Iraq War Era.” The conference, held at the Rayburn House Office Building, hosted members of the U.S. Congress and prominent members of the foreign policy and journalism fields. All speakers highlighted the critical point that U.S.—Turkey relations have reached after the Iraq War. They urged the United States to take into consideration Turkey’s refusal to help the U.S. in the Iraq War and to change its policy toward Turkey.
The keynote speaker of the conference was Christopher Hitchens, world renowned columnist, speaker and author of many best seller books. The other speakers at the morning session were: Dr. John Eibner, Director of Human Rights, Christian Solidarity International, Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee of America, and Kani Xulam, Director of the American Kurdish Information Network. The chairman and moderator was Gene Rossides, general counsel of the American Hellenic Institute.
The luncheon speaker was Ted Galen Carpenter, Vice President, Defense and Foreign Policy Studies of the Cato Institute, and author of several books on foreign policy.
The afternoon session was highlighted by the presence of the following members of the US Congress: Rep. Rob Andrews (D-NJ), Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, (R-FL) and Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA). The other afternoon speakers were: Nikolas Gvosdev, Editor of the on-line journal “In the National Interest”, Nicholas G. Karambelas, Esq., Partner of Sfikas & Karambelas, LLP and Gene Rossides, AHI general counsel. The afternoon session was chaired by Nicholas Chimicles, Esq., Chairman of the AHI Public Affairs Committee.
In his keynote address, Mr. Christopher Hitchens referred to the Turkish occupation of the northern part of Cyprus and stressed that the partition of the island violates a cornerstone of the European values, which is the freedom of movement. Mr. Hitchens made a clear distinction between the will of the Turkish Cypriot people and its leader, “Mr Denktash who has probably more blood of Turkish Cypriots in his hands than he has of Greeks.”
Mr. Hitchens, referred to the Turkish behavior during the Iraq War, its unilateral military action in Northern Iraq and the detention of Turkish soldiers by U.S. troops in the region. Based on all the above, Mr. Hitchens described U.S.-Turkish relations to be in a “quite critical turning point” after the Iraq War.
With regard to the Turkish accession to the European Union he named the resolution of the Cyprus issue and the recognition of the rights of the Kurdish people as necessary preconditions for any negotiations to take place.
Dr. John Eibner approached Turkey from a human rights perspective and highlighted the legacy of intolerance of the Turkish State. He referred to the failure of successive administrations to acknowledge and commemorate appropriately the first major genocide of the 20th century—the Armenian Genocide. He asked, “Can it be denied that Turkey is the leading ethnic cleanser of the 20th century?”
He clarified the historical misconceptions regarding the Ottoman Empire and its successor, the modern Turkish State, by stressing that secularism and democracy in Turkey are overstated. He also stated that the U.S. should end its campaign for Turkey’s accession to the European Union until there is a full and complete democracy in Turkey.
Aram Hamparian presented the new perspective in U.S.-Armenian relations under the light of the deterioration of U.S.-Turkish relations since the Iraq War. By quoting statements of members of the U.S. Congress, foreign policy makers, and Pentagon officials Mr Hamparian noted the significant downgrading of Turkey from “an indispensable ally” to simply “an important friend in the region”. Mr. Hamparian, expressed the view that the Turkish Government will come to understand this new reality and that “both sides in the U.S.—Turkish relationship will recognize that fifty years of essentially unconditional support for the Turkish government actually undermined reformers within Turkey and stunted real progress toward democracy and human rights.”
Kani Xulam vividly depicted the tragedy of the Kurdish people living in Turkey and called for the principles of self-dignity and respect of their freedom.
Luncheon speaker Ted Galen Carpenter stressed the broadening differences between the U.S. and Turkey and noted the estrangement of U.S.-Turkish relations.
Mr. Carpenter identified four areas where US-Turkish interests clash, namely the future of the Kurds in Iraq, their approach toward Iran, the growing anti-U.S. sentiment of Turkish public opinion and the inevitable U.S.-Turkish clash within the context of the growing gap of the transatlantic relations. He concluded that “for all of the reasons the estrangement that has developed between the U.S. and Turkey after the Iraq War is not likely to go away….The reality is that U.S. and Turkish interests overlap only sometimes…the current estrangement has simply brought that reality forward.”
Rep. Rob Andrews (D-NJ) enumerated three major misconceptions about Turkey that haunt U.S. foreign policy. He first attacked the misconception that Turkey can always be counted on to be a strong military ally to the United States, by commenting on Turkey’s negative role to the Iraq War.
The second misconception that Rep. Andrews demystified was that Turkey is a stabilizing force in the region and that it should be a model for the reconstruction of Iraq. Rep. Andrews underscored the non-democratic nature of the Turkish regime and named Turkey “a human rights violator almost without parallel in that area of the world.”
With regard to the reconstruction of Iraq he stated that “if we were to hold up a model of a functioning Islamic democracy, Ankara is the wrong place to look.” With regard to the tragedies of the Cypriot, the Kurdish and the Armenian peoples caused by the Turkish Government, Mr. Andrews stated: “I do not believe that U.S. policy should overlook the intransigence and difficulties caused by that [Turkish] government.”
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) highlighted the importance of U.S.—Greece relationship and the key role that the latter plays for the U.S. foreign policy and the stability in the Southeastern Mediterranean and the Middle East. With regard to Cyprus Rep Ros-Lehtinen stressed that “it is in our interest to see the emergence of a new, vibrant, unified Cyprus” and directly accused Denktash who “continues his intransigent policies…all with Turkish support and with the presence of a Turkish occupation force of some 35,000 troops.” Mrs. Lehtinen put full responsibility on Turkey for the failure of the Cyprus talks and called on Turkey “to end its illegal occupation of the island for once and for all.” Rep. Ros-Lehtinen reaffirmed her determination to continue to work closely with the Greek American community and to work towards ending the occupation and for the reunification of Cyprus.
At the afternoon session, Nikolas Gvosdev depicted the changing environment in the geopolitical chessboard in Eurasia and highlighted the changing nature of Turkey’s geostrategic significance: “it is no longer a front-line state versus the Warsaw Pact and is no longer needed as a staging area for Iraqi containment. It is one option among several for the projection of U.S. power in the Near East, Southwest Asia and the Black Sea Basin.”
Mr Gvosdev also traced the limited utility of Turkey as a model for post-communist and Muslim states as well as its diminishing role as the “energy hub” for the resources of the Caspian and Central Asia.
Nick Karambelas provided the legal perspective of the Annan plan, and clarified key issues of the Cyprus problem, such as property rights and decision-making on the federal level. Mr. Karambelas highlighted the potential dead-ends that the Annan plan might lead to if it does not take into consideration the historical particularities and the demography factor in the island.
Gene Rossides discussed “The Need to Change the Flawed U.S. Policy Towards Turkey” of double standards and appeasement on the rule of law and human rights. He enumerated three new realities that should define the U.S.- Turkey relations. Mr. Rossides highlighted the significant decrease of Turkish importance in the region, because of: (1) its unreliability as a strategic ally by refusing the use of its bases by U.S. troops to open a northern front against Iraq; (2) the fact that we were able to open the northern front and defeat Saddam Hussein without Turkey demonstrated the minimal strategic value of Turkey for U.S. interests in the region; and (3) its legacy as an “extortionist” state in which one senior administration official called Turkey’s efforts to get more aid as “extortion in the name of the alliance.”
Based on these arguments, Mr. Rossides stressed the harmful effects to U.S. interests of the “policy of double standards for Turkey on the rule of law and human rights.”
Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), voiced out his strong opposition to giving aid to Turkey. He criticized Turkey for its non-democratic regime and addressed its military aggression to its neighbors. With regard to Cyprus he directly accused Turkey for the illegal occupation of the island. Rep. Sherman concluded his speech by reaffirming his strong commitment to continue working with the Greek American community in order “to have unity restored in Cyprus, to have a U.S. foreign policy that matches our values and to try to save the civilian dollars that do not need to be spent.”
AHI’s Executive Director Nick Larigakis stated: “We believe that the Conference provided a critical analysis regarding U.S.—Turkish relations and offered constructive policy recommendations for consideration.”
Summer Interns Lobby on Capitol Hill
AHI’s summer internship program gave the opportunity to the two interns, Sotirios Kospanos and Adam Kutrumbos, to get involved in numerous projects. The most important part of their internship, was lobbying on Capitol Hill to oppose the $255 million in Military and Economic Aid to Turkey in the Fiscal Year 2004 Appropriations Bill. They also significantly contributed to the organization of AHI events and regularly attended Washington area conferences and lectures.
Sotirios Kospanos is from Thessaloniki, Greece. He is a senior at Northern Kentucky University majoring in international studies with a minor in political science. He will be graduating this coming fall and he wishes to pursue a career in the international relations field; he intends to continue his studies in Graduate school. As a Greek, his experience at AHI was very beneficial and he particularly enjoyed lobbying on Capitol Hill.
Adam Kutrumbos is from Wilton, Connecticut and is currently a senior at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. A political science and sociology double-major, Adam enjoyed the internship opportunity at AHI and the chance to learn about Greek foreign policy issues and more about the United States government.
AHI Hosts Farewell Dinner in Honor of Cypriot Ambassador
On July 23, 2003, the American Hellenic Institute (AHI) bid a warm farewell to departing Cyprus Ambassador to the U.S., Dr. Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis, at a dinner held in her honor at the Capital Hilton Hotel. Ambassador Marcoullis was presented with the AHI Hellenic Heritage and National Public Service Award in recognition of her diligent and successful endeavors promoting a strong and collaborative relationship between Cyprus and the U.S. during her tenure in Washington.
During her acceptance remarks, Ambassador Marcoullis thanked AHI for its steadfast and positive support of Cypriot issues, stressing the importance of its policy initiatives.
Greek Ambassador to the U.S. George Savvaides gave the keynote speech praising Ambassador Marcoullis’ exceptional efforts and her role in Cyprus’s successful accession to the EU on April 16, 2003.
Ambassador Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis was appointed Ambassador of Cyprus to the U.S. in September 1998. Her career in the Cypriot foreign service spans more than twenty-three years, with resident assignments in Sweden and the United States. When Ambassador Marcoullis returns to Nicosia, she will be in charge of the Division at the Foreign Ministry that has responsibility for what is generally known as the Cyprus problem—the tragic division of Cyprus that began twenty-nine years ago with the Turkish invasion of the Mediterranean island nation.
On June 14, 2003 AHI long term supporters Dr. Vasilis and Mrs. Theresa Papademetriou hosted an AHI fundraiser at their wonderful house at Potomac, Maryland. More than 100 members and friends honored the American Hellenic Institute and the hosts with their presence. AHI general counsel, Gene Rossides was the special guest of the event.
AHI IN THE NEWS
Gene Rossides Appears on Fox TV
On September 5, 2003 AHI General Counsel, Gene Rossides, appeared on the 10 o’clock evening news on KMPH, the FOX affiliate of Fresno, California. Mr. Rossides spoke on the occasion of the 48th anniversary of the September 6, 1955 destruction of the Greek Orthodox Christian community in Istanbul organized by the Turkish government. Mr. Rossides called for the establishment of an investigation unit within the Department of Justice that will address the issue of compensation to the victims and their heirs as was done for the Jewish victims of the Holocaust.
Gene Rossides Interviewed by Greek National TV
In June 2003, AHI General Counsel, Gene Rossides was interviewed by Greek journalist Fanis Papathanassiou for the National Greek Television. Mr. Rossides spoke on U.S.-Greece relations, the Cyprus issue and the Greek Prime Minister’s visit to Washington DC on the occasion of the Greek Presidency of the European Union.
Nick Larigakis Quoted in The New York Times
AHI Executive Director, Nick Larigakis was quoted in the August 12, 2003 New York Times issue under the Business Travel section, a weekly feature about places to stay, eat and visit in leading business destinations. In her article “An Ancient City is Sprucing Itself Up” Mrs Tanya Mohn cites the Athenian attractions and the progress that Athens has made in the occasion of the Athens Olympic Games in 2004.
VISITORS TO HELLENIC HOUSE
The Foreign Minister of Cyprus, H.E. George Iacovou, accompanied by the Ambassador of Cyprus to the US, H.E. Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis visited the Hellenic House on June 13, 2003. The Cypriot officials met with members of the AHI leadership, including AHI founder, Gene Rossides, Advisory Committee member James H. Lagos, Legal Counsel Nick Karambelas, Executive Director Nick Larigakis and the staff for a one-hour meeting where they discussed elements of his recent visit to the U.S.
Ambassador Thomas G. Weston Reiterates U.S. Commitment to a Cyprus Settlement at AHI Noon Forum
U.S. Special Coordinator for Cyprus Ambassador Thomas G. Weston discussed the recent historic developments on the island during a noon forum at the American Hellenic Institute (AHI) on May 8, 2003. The Ambassador provided the audience with an update on the negotiations process since his last noon forum appearance in February, and also discussed prospects for a settlement in the face of current developments. Specifically highlighted were implications of the opening of several crossing points along the Green Line since April 23, allowing travel between the Republic of Cyprus and the occupied zone in the north.
Pontian Genocide Commemorated at AHI Noon Forum
On May 12, 2003, the American Hellenic Institute (AHI) hosted a noon forum in commemoration of the Pontian Genocide featuring Panos Stavrianidis, President of the Pan-Pontian Federation of the U.S. & Canada. His presentation, titled “Turkey’s Need to Acknowledge Responsibility for the Genocide of the Pontian Hellenes in 1914-1923,” gave a brief historical overview of the events surrounding the Pontian Genocide and noted reasons why recognition of this atrocity is critical to stability in the southeastern Mediterranean region.
LETTERS TO THE PRESIDENT
AHI Letter to President Bush Calls for Cyprus Settlement Based on Democratic Norms
A letter to President George W. Bush by the American Hellenic Institute’s (AHI) General Counsel Gene Rossides sent on May 15, 2003, stated that “the time is propitious for positive movement on a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem.” Supporting this comment, two new factors were cited. The first and most important new factor is Cyprus’s accession to the European Union (EU) on April 16, 2003. The second key factor cited is that the war on Iraq has demonstrated (1) Turkey’s unreliability as a strategic ally by its refusal to help the U.S.; (2) that Turkey is of minimal strategic value for U.S. interests in the Middle East; and (3) that Turkey is an “extortionist” state.
LETTERS TO GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS
Texas Senator Mario Gallegos Congratulated for Helping to Enact Resolution that Recognizes Macedonia as Hellenic
On June 5th 2003, the American Hellenic Institute (AHI) sent a letter to Texas’ 6th District Senator Mario Gallegos to thank him for introducing Senate Resolution 658, which proclaims that “the ancient Macedonians are Hellenes and that the inhabitants of the northern province of Greece, Macedonia, are their Hellenic Descendents.” The resolution was adopted by the Senate on April 23, 2003 and further states that “the history of Ancient Macedonia has been Hellenic for 3,000 years and continues to be today.”
AHI letter commemorating the 29th anniversary of Turkey’s aggression against Cyprus
A letter to Secretary of State Colin L. Powell by the American Hellenic Institute’s (AHI) general counsel Gene Rossides, sent on August 14, 2003, commemorated the 29th anniversary of Turkey’s aggression against Cyprus and urged the U.S. to take action to achieve a just and viable solution based on democratic norms and the rule of law. Mr. Rossides referred to Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus on July 20, 1974, with the illegal use of American arms and equipment, which resulted in the occupation of 4% of the Cypriot territory, and the second and massive phase of Turkish aggression against Cyprus on August 14, 1974, three weeks after the legitimate government of Cyprus had returned to office on July 23, 1974, with the illegal use of hundreds of U.S. tanks, hundreds of U.S. airplanes and 35,000 ground troops, which resulted in a land grab by Turkey of 33% of Cyprus.
AHI Letter to Secretary of State Powell calls for investigation for the murder of five Americans during the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974
A letter to Secretary of State Colin L. Powell by the American Hellenic Institute’s general counsel, Gene Rossides, sent on July 17, 2003, requested an investigation to determine the responsibility of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and the 1974 Turkish commander of Turkey’s Cyprus invasion forces for the murder of five Americans. The letter pointed out that the Executive Branch did not investigate the whereabouts of the five American citizens until Congress passed legislation in 1994 ordering “an investigation of the whereabouts of the United States citizens and others who have been missing from Cyprus since 1974.” The Executive Branch then conducted an inquiry and determined that the five Americans were dead, but inexplicably failed to pursue its inquiry to determine who was responsible for killing the five Americans and to bring the person or persons responsible to justice
AHI’s Letter to Secretary of State Powell calls for new U.S.—FYROM Agreement
On July 10, 2003, AHI general counsel Gene Rossides sent a letter to Secretary of State Colin L. Powell in opposition to the U.S. bilateral agreement dated July 1, 2003 with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). FYROM was allowed to sign under the name “Macedonia.” The letter requested Secretary Powell to “reconsider the matter and seek a new agreement with the proper recognized name of “FYROM.” The agreement provides U.S. citizens in FYROM with immunity from prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC) under Article 98.
On September 9, 2003 the American Hellenic Institute sent out a press release to commemorate the 81st anniversary of the destruction of Smyrna by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and the killing of over 100,000 Greeks and Armenians by Turkish troops. AHI called for compensation for the victims and their heirs of Turkey’s war crimes.
Greek Community in Istanbul
On September 5, 2003 AHI released a statement on the 48th anniversary of Turkey’s destruction of the 110,000 Greek Orthodox Christian community of Istanbul. The American Hellenic Institute commemorated the memory of the victims of the Turkish government’s atrocities against its Christian minority and called for compensation for the victims of Turkey’s crimes.
PUBLIC AFFAIRS COMMITTEE
AHI Action Alerts Oppose Aid to Turkey
On July 14, 2003 AHI members and friends were urged to oppose the $255 million in Military and Economic Aid to Turkey in the Fiscal Year 2004 Appropriations Bill, which was about to be discussed on the House and Senate floor during the weeks of July 14 and July 21. This amount was proposed to the Congress on February 3, 2003, before Turkey refused to help the U.S. regarding Iraq. Attached to the Action Alert were sixteen reasons why it is not in the interest of the U.S. to give more aid to Turkey, including: (1) that Turkey had already received 1 billion as part of the April 12, 2003, Iraq War Supplemental Appropriations Bill and (2) Turkey’s unreliability as a strategic ally demonstrated by its refusal to allow the use of Turkish bases by U.S. troops to open a northern front against Saddam Hussein.
AHI sent three Action Alerts on May 6, July 16 and July 17, 2003, up-dating AHI members and friends on the latest developments of AHI actions regarding the Foreign Appropriations Bill. AHI interns actively lobbied the members of the Foreign Appropriations Committees, both House and Senate and visited more than 50 offices.
BUSINESS NETWORK AT WORK
AHI Business Network Luncheon Highlights Trends in Commercial Real Estate
On May 14, 2003, the American Hellenic Institute’s (AHI) Business Network luncheon featured Demetri Koutrouvelis, Associate Director at Julien J. Studley, Inc. and AHI member, to discuss “Commercial Real Estate Trends: Which Way From Here?” The event was held at the Army and Navy Club. Mr. Koutrouvelis discussed the current outlook for the commercial real estate industry throughout the nation, with a particular emphasis on the D.C. metropolitan region. The event also provided an opportunity for attendees to network with other individuals in the industry.
George Stephanopoulos speaks at AHI Business Network Luncheon
On June 25 2003, George Stephanopoulos, anchor of ABC’s Sunday morning program This Week and former senior advisor to President Clinton, spoke at the AHI Business Network Luncheon which was held at Capital Hilton Hotel. Mr. Stephanopoulos gave an off the record presentation of his insights from his experiences in the fields of politics and foreign affairs. Mr. Stephanopoulos provided insightful comments on a broad range of foreign and domestic policy issues, including U.S.—Greece relations, the War in Iraq, the Cyprus issue, U.S. policy in the Middle East and U.S.-Turkish relations.
New Investment Law to boost investment in Greece, ELKE reports
Minister of Finance and National Economy Nikos Christodoulakis announced on July 1 2003 sweeping new legislation that will offer foreign direct investors substantial tax breaks and other incentives. According to the Hellenic Center for Investment (ELKE) the minister promised legislation that will offer foreign investment tax stability for ten years with reduced tax factors determined as a percentage of invested capital or turnover and profits. For more information, contact ELKE at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out their Web site at https://www.elke.gr
AHI MEMBERS IN THE NEWS
Joannou & Paraskevaides Group, was ranked 32nd among the top 225 International Contractors for 2003, at the prestigious Engineering News Record Magazine.
Marina Angel (Angelopoulou), Temple University Law School Professor, received on June 3, 2003, a Special Achievement Award from the Pennsylvania Bar Association for her work with its Commission on Women. She was honored for her dedication to educating lawyers and judges about the status of women in the legal profession. Professor Angel is the author of the Annual Report Card (2002-2003), and has received numerous honors, including the 1998 Pennsylvania Bar Association Anne X. Alpern Award and the 1996 Philadelphia Bar Association Sandra Day O’ Connor Award.
Konstantine Drougos, founder of Amerikus Wines & Spirits, was quoted in the on line article of USA TODAY “Greek Wine goes for the Gold—Olympic Gold” on September 11, 2003. Mr Drougos’ company represents 14 Greek wineries in the United States and he commented on the excellent quality of Greek wines and their promotion to the U.S.
Nicholas Gage, world famous journalist and commentator featured Archbishop Anastasios Yannoulatos of Albania in the cover story of the July 27, 2003 issue of “Parade”, a nationally syndicated magazine with the largest circulation in the U.S. Mr. Gage highlighted Archbishop Anastasios’ invaluable contribution to the inspiration and restoration of Albania.
Lee E. Plakas, Managing Partner in the Canton/Akron law firm of Tzangas, Plakas, Mannos & Recupero, has been selected by his peers to be included in the 2003-2004 edition of The Best Lawyers in America. Mr. Plakas is a 1976 graduate of the University of Akron School of Law, and was recently honored by receiving the University’s 2001 Outstanding Law School Alumnus Award.
E. John Rumpakis, native Oregonian, was selected to receive the prestigious Ellis Island Medal of Honor. The National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations (NECO) selected Rumpakis for this honor among 15,000 nominees. Rumpakis was chosen as a recipient for the Ellis Island Medal of Honor for his extensive involvement in Oregon’s business, civic and educational communities.
Helen Speronis was featured in the March 2003 Issue of “Inside Out”, the City Magazine of Athens where she was highlighted as the “Grande Dame of Greek Hospitality”. Ms. Speronis was the Public Relations Manager of Olympic Airways for 27 years during the golden era of Aristotelis Onassis and among other activities, she founded the Harvard Club of Greece where she serves as Vice President and is the PR Chairman for the American Women’s Association of Greece.