American Hellenic Institute


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12-11-02 Letter to President George W. Bush

                                                                                                                                                                                                                 December 11, 2002

The Honorable George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20005

Re:  United States Policy Towards Turkey -- Need for a Critical Review

Dear Mr. President:

In the national interests of the U.S., we urge a critical review and change in U.S. policy towards Turkey for the reasons stated in this letter.

The Administration's consistent unwillingness to require that Turkey respect human rights or adhere to even the most basic norms of international conduct represents a moral stain on the honor of the United States and NATO.

Turkey is an international terrorist state by its aggression against Cyprus and its occupation of 37.3 percent of Cyprus, now in its twenty-eighth year. Turkey is also a national terrorist state by its ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity and genocide against its 20 percent Kurdish minority (fifteen to twenty million). Turkey is a further destabilizing force by its illegal blockade of Armenia and shameless campaign to deny the Armenian Genocide. Turkey ranks with Iraq in its failure to adhere to and carry out numerous U.N. Security Council resolutions. And Turkey’s violation of the human rights of its citizens generally, including its national torture policy, has been fully documented by the State Department Annual Human Rights Country Report, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and others.

The United States’ and NATO’s double standard on the application of the rule of law to Turkey and the appeasement of Turkey have been and are harmful to U.S. interests in the war on international terrorism, on the Middle East peace process and on America’s image throughout the world.

We don’t need Turkey in order to defeat Saddam Hussein

The argument used by Turkey’s proponents and paid foreign agents that we cannot defeat or use force against Iraq without Turkey is without merit. The U.S. does not need the Incirlik NATO air base in southeast Turkey to use force against Iraq. The U.S. has several air bases as near and nearer to Iraq than Incirlik, including the British base on Cyprus and several U.S. bases in the Persian Gulf area and aircraft carriers. The Washington Post lists nine air bases in addition to Incirlik and aircraft carriers in an article "War Plans Target Hussein Power Base" (Wash. Post, Sept. 22, 2002, at A1, col. 5).

The Persian Gulf War proved that the U.S. does not need Turkey regarding our use of force against Saddam Hussein. Turkey refused the use of its air space and Incirlik during Desert Shield from August 2, 1990 to January 16, 1991; refused the U.S. request to open a second front against Iraq (Wash. Post, Jan. 16, 1991, at A6, col. 5) and allowed large-scale smuggling along its 206 mile border with Iraq (Wall Street Journal Oct. 30, 1990, at 1, col.1).

It was not until 48 hours after Desert Storm started on January 16, 1991, and the U.S.-led coalition air war had neutralized the Iraqi air defenses and air force and had complete air superiority, that Turkey's President Turgut Ozal allowed a limited number of sorties out of Incirlik NATO air base in order to save face. Only one of twenty coalition sorties originated in Turkey. The Turkish military and public opinion opposed the use of Incirlik, and Turkey did not contribute troops or other military assets to the U.S.-led coalition.

The New York Times reported that Bush administration officials have stated that the U.S. can defeat Iraq without Turkey, confirming what we have often said (N.Y. Times, Nov. 28, 2002 at A1; col. 5). The Pentagon has two military plans, one with "Turkish cooperation" and one without it (Ibid.).

Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz misleads Bush Administration regarding Turkey

In our joint letter to you of September 4, 2002 (click here), we answered in detail the false and misleading statements with serious errors of fact and omission of Orwellian proportions regarding Turkey made by Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz. These statements were made on July 14, 2002 in Turkey and on March 13, 2002 in Washington, D.C. In an address to the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London on December 2, 2002, Dr. Wolfowitz repeated many of his incorrect and misleading statements and added the following one:

"Ten years ago, when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, Turkey played a crucial role in the coalition that liberated Kuwait…"

This statement is a blatant falsehood as the above discussion demonstrates.

Architects of U.S. policy towards Turkey: Messrs. Wolfowitz, Feith, Perle and Grossman

The prime architects of U.S. policy towards Turkey, particularly military aid and sales, are Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith, Richard Perle, the former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs and now the Chairman of the Defense Policy Board, and Under Secretary of State Marc Grossman. Under Secretary Feith is a former registered foreign agent for Turkey from 1989 to 1994 while serving as a principal for International Advisors Inc. (IAI). He was previously a special assistant to Richard Perle at the Defense Department. From 1989 to 1994, Perle was a paid consultant for IAI for Turkey. He initiated IAI and negotiated an $800,000 contract for IAI with Turkey for 1989 and a $600,000 contract annually for 1990 to 1994. We believe these facts should require Mr. Feith and Mr. Perle to recuse themselves regarding any matters dealing with U.S.-Turkey relations.

We urge you not to give Turkey any of the $228 million authorized by Congress for Turkey at the initiative of the Defense Department until an investigation is made into the circumstances of its initiation. The investigation should be made into the origin and justification of the Defense Department’s request for these funds in the Administration’s budget proposals to Congress, bearing in mind Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz’s reference to promises made ten years ago in his remarks in Turkey on July 14, 2002. What promises and by whom?  What role did Mr. Feith and Mr. Perle play in initiating the request for $228 million for Turkey?

Messrs. Wolfowitz, Feith, Perle and Grossman -- accessories to the Turkish crimes against the Kurds

When Richard Perle was the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security from 1981-1987 during the Reagan Administration, he led the successful effort to give massive grant military aid to Turkey. Mr. Feith was on his staff at the time. Messrs. Wolfowitz and Grossman actively supported sending high levels of arms to Turkey. Weapons supplied by the U.S. were used by the Turkish army against the Kurds from at least 1984 and are being used to the present time. Over 30,000 Kurds were killed by the Turkish military. The use of U.S. supplied weapons against the Kurds, which was well-known, made the U.S. an accessory to the Turkish military’s crimes against the Kurds. Messrs. Wolfowitz, Perle, Feith and Grossman bear responsibility for the policy of arms to Turkey. The killings of innocent Kurds lie at their doorstep.

In a comprehensive joint report "Arming Repression: U.S. Arms Sales to Turkey During the Clinton Administration" (October 1999), the World Policy Institute and the Federation of American Scientists documented the U.S. arms trade with Turkey and its harmful effects on U.S. interests.

Turkish military has "tens of billions of dollars" in a cash fund and owns vast business enterprises. It is not in the interest of the U.S. to give military or economic aid to Turkey

We further call for a halt to all military and economic aid to Turkey. The Turkish military has “tens of billions of dollars” in a cash fund and owns vast business enterprises worth in excess of $100 billion. (See article by Eric Rouleau, former French ambassador to Turkey, "Turkey's Dream of Democracy," Foreign Affairs, November/December 2000, pp. 100-114.) The Turkish military receives billions of dollars in profits annually from its business enterprises. Any aid to Turkey would go primarily into the coffers of the Turkish military. Instead of aid to Turkey, we should insist that the Turkish military repay the $5 billion debt it owes to the U.S.

The U.S. in its own interests should press Turkey on a number of issues

The U.S. in its own interests should press Turkey to:

  • comply with all relevant U.N. resolutions, including the unanimous U.N. General Assembly (UNGA) resolution 3212 of November 1, 1974, which requires that all Turkish military forces and military presence and personnel are withdrawn from Cyprus. The vote was 117 in favor, none against and no abstentions. UNGA resolution 3212 was adopted by the U.N. Security Council resolution 365 on December 13, 1974;
  • grant full human rights to its 20 percent Kurdish minority and release all political prisoners and journalists;
  • end its shameful campaign to deny the Armenian Genocide and take full responsibility for this crime against humanity;
  • lift its illegal blockade of Armenia;
  • withdraw all illegal Turkish settlers from Cyprus and return to the government of Cyprus under U.N. auspices the formerly Greek Cypriot occupied area of Famagusta/Varosha for the immediate resettlement of refugees;
  • restore the some 500 churches vandalized and looted by Turkish forces, settlers and Turkish Cypriots.

No legal distinction between Turkey’s aggression against Cyprus and Iraq’s aggression against Kuwait

There is no legal distinction between Iraq’s invasion and occupation of Kuwait in August 1990 and Turkey’s invasion and occupation of over one third of Cyprus in July and August of 1974. Iraq’s actions were characterized by then President George H.W. Bush as “naked aggression” and a violation of the United Nation’s Charter. Turkey’s invasion and occupation of over a third of Cyprus was also “naked aggression” and a violation of the U.N. Charter. Turkey’s actions also violated U.S. laws, the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended, the Foreign Military Sales Act, and the NATO Treaty. Turkey, a large nation used military force against a small country, Cyprus, just as Iraq, a large nation, did against a small nation, Kuwait.

"Double Talk on Democracy"

The New York Times in an editorial “Double Talk on Democracy” (October 6, 2002) finally shined a light on Turkey as “the most striking example of Washington’s hypocrisy” regarding “undemocratic practices” in Turkey and the need to bring the Turkish "authoritarian military leadership" under civilian rule to achieve democracy.

Thank you for your consideration of our views on these issues of great importance to the interests of the U.S., to the constituencies we represent, and to all Americans.


Aram Hamparian
Executive Director
Armenian National Committee

James F. Dimitriou
Supreme President
Order of AHEPA

Theodora S. Hancock
President and Co-Founder
Hellenic American Women's Council

Ted Spyropoulos
Hellenic American National Committee

Kani Xulam
American Kurdish Information Network

Gene Rossides
General Counsel
American Hellenic Institute



Vice President Richard B. Cheney
Secretary of State Colin L. Powell
Secretary of the Treasury Designate John W. Snow
Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld
Deputy Secretary of State Richard Lee Armitage
Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz
Chief of Staff Andrew Card
Senior Adviser Karl Rove
National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice
Under Secretary of State Marc Grossman
Director of OMB Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr.
The Congress