American Hellenic Institute


Facebook Image
Joint Letter to President Bush Exposes Deputy Defense Secretary Wolfowitz's False Statements on Turkey, Conflict of Interest at Defense Department, and Opposition to $228M Grant Aid to Turkey Initiated by Defense Department
September 04, 2002 No. 43/02 (202) 785-8430

Joint Letter to President Bush Exposes
Deputy Defense Secretary Wolfowitz's False Statements
on Turkey, Conflict of Interest at Defense Department,
and Opposition to $228M Grant Aid to Turkey
Initiated by Defense Department

WASHINGTON, DC -- A joint letter to President George W. Bush sent today by leading Greek, Armenian and Kurdish American organizations exposes and refutes several false and misleading statements made by Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz regarding Turkey, and reveals a conflict of interest at the Defense Department. The six co-signatories to the letter include:

  • The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA)
  • The Order of AHEPA
  • The Hellenic American Women's Council (HAWC)
  • The Hellenic American National Council (HANC)
  • The American Kurdish Information Network (AKIN)
  • The American Hellenic Institute (AHI)

The letter and accompanying exhibits respond sharply to remarks made by Mr. Wolfowitz on three separate occasions praising Turkey's role as a U.S. ally. These statements were made (1) during a CNN Turk television interview in Istanbul on Sunday, July 14, 2002, (2) during a speech that same day at the Conrad Hotel in Istanbul, and (3) in an earlier speech at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy in Washington, D.C. on March 13, 2002.

One of the most disturbing of Mr. Wolfowitz's comments was made during his interview with CNN Turk television. He stated: "I think a real test of whether a country is a democracy is how it treats its minorities. And actually it's one of the things that impress (sic) me about Turkish history -- the way Turkey treats its own minorities." Exhibit 1 of the joint letter refutes this glaringly inaccurate statement with a list of Turkey's numerous human rights violations committed against its minorities throughout the twentieth century, a number of which continue up to the present.

Similarly objectionable statements made by Mr. Wolfowitz and refuted by the joint letter include:

  • that Turkey is "one of ourmost reliable allies." The letter lists several examples of Turkey's assistance to the Soviet military during the Cold War;
  • that Turkey is "one of ourmost self-reliant allies." The letter points out that the U.S. has given over $1 billion in grant aid to Turkey in the 1990s, and that the IMF has given $25 billion in loans to Turkey in the past decades;
  • that Ataturk was someone to admire. The joint letter points out that Ataturk ranks with Hitler and Stalin as a brutal dictator, especially in his treatment of minorities, and that "Ataturk and his fellow Young Turks initiated the anti-Christian policy in Turkey which continues to date.";
  • that Turkey is a democracy. The letter points out that Turkey has a military-controlled government;
  • that Turkey deserves praise for its alleged role in the international war on terrorism. The letter points out that Turkey is an international terrorist state by its invasion and occupation of Cyprus, and is a national terrorist state by its actions against its Kurdish minority.

The joint letter also exposes the conflict of interest by two high-ranking Defense Department officials. Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith was a registered foreign agent for Turkey from 1989-1994, receiving $60,000 annually. Richard Perle, chairman of the Defense Policy Board, was a consultant to International Advisors Inc. (IAI), Turkey's registered foreign agent, from 1989-1994 and received $48,000 annually from IAI. The joint letter calls on Messrs. Feith and Perle to recuse themselves from any matters dealing with Turkey and states that consideration should be given to their removal.

In referring to Turkey and NATO, Mr. Wolfowitz failed to recognize and state that Turkey violated the NATO Treaty by its invasion of Cyprus and that the violation continues to this day. In referring to Cyprus, Mr. Wolfowitz also failed to mention that the U.S. encouraged the coup against President Makarios on July 15, 1974 and Turkey's subsequent invasion of Cyprus on July 20, 1974. Instead, Mr. Wolfowitz continued the cover-up policy of the State and Defense Departments.

The joint letter highlights "the Turkish military's vast business holdings and cash fund of tens of billions of dollars." The letter states its strong opposition to the Administration's $228 million request for grant military and economic aid to Turkey and labels the request as "irresponsible" in view of the Turkish military's vast assets and billions of dollars in cash, and because of our own budget deficit problems.

The letter to President Bush and accompanying exhibits are attached (click here). For additional information, including copies of Mr. Wolfowitz's original statements, please contact Chrysoula Economopoulos at (202) 785-8430 or at For general information about the activities of AHI, please see our website at