American Hellenic Institute


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In Letter To President Clinton, AHI Cites Turkish Economic Crisis As Reason To Cease Arms Sales To Turkey
December 18, 2000 No. 61/00 (202) 785-8430

In Letter To President Clinton, AHI Cites Turkish Economic Crisis As Reason To Cease Arms Sales To Turkey

On December 18, 2000, American Hellenic Institute founder Eugene T. Rossides sent a letter to President Clinton on U.S. arms sales to Turkey. The full text of the letter (which was copied to the Treasury Secretary, the IMF and the Congress) may be found on the AHI website (click here). The main points were:

The recent IMF intervention in support of the Turkish economy shows that at this time of economic crisis Turkey should devote its full attention and scarce resources to economic reform and revitalization. Funds spent on arms acquisitions, including the $4.1 billion contract under negotiation to purchase 145 Bell Textron Cobra attack helicopters, divert resources away from the much more urgent task of economic reform. If economic reform falters or fails, serious Turkish interests such as accession to the European Union, its ability to compete in the globablized economy and even its political stability will suffer. Setbacks on these fronts will in turn damage American interests.

The letter regretted that the U.S. Treasury Secretary did not insist on making the aid package conditional to Turkey's abandoning its economically counterproductive policies of huge purchases of armaments for its military. By going along with massive weapons sales, the U.S. consolidates the military's grip on power and impedes the reform process. This is damaging both to Turkish and to American interests.

In addition to the economic reasons brought into focus by the IMF, the letter outlined further grounds for strong opposition to continued U.S. arms sales to Turkey, including Cobra attack helicopters, remain valid:

  • Turkey's appalling human right record;
  • The likelihood that these weapons will be used in Turkey's genocidal war against the Kurds;
  • Turkey's existing status as the region's most militarized power;
  • Turkey's failure to adhere to international law regarding Cyprus;
  • Turkey's failure to respect international law regarding the Aegean; and
  • Turkey's undemocratic constitution and military-controlled government structures.

The letter urged President Clinton abandon all current discussions for arms sales to Turkey and to so state publicly.