American Hellenic Institute


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AHI statement opposing the use of Turkish troops in Iraq as not in the best interests of the U.S.
October 10, 2003 No. 45 (202) 785-8430

AHI statement opposing the use of Turkish troops in Iraq as not in the best interests of the U.S.

WASHINGTON, DC—Gene Rossides, AHI general counsel made the following statement on the issue of Turkish troops going to Iraq:

"The use of 10,000 Turkish troops in Iraq is not in the best interests of the U.S. for a number of obvious reasons:

1. The Iraqi Kurds, our key ally in Iraq, oppose it. The Turks have illegally invaded northern Iraq and attacked the Kurds there on many occasions. The Turks presently have armed forces illegally in northern Iraq.

Recently Turkish commandos were apprehended in northern Iraq by U.S. forces. The Turks were on a mission to assassinate Iraqi Kurdish leaders. Turkey has opposed the autonomous status for Iraqi Kurds.

The argument that the 10,000 Turkish troops will not be used in the Kurdish areas of Iraq is not an adequate reason to have them in Iraq.

2. The Iraqi Governing Council opposes Turkish occupation forces in Iraq.

3. Turkey is the former colonial master for 400 years of Iraq and the Middle East. Putting Turkish troops in Iraq at this time is like putting German troops in Poland or Israel or Japanese troops in Manchuria or Korea.

4. King Abdullah of Jordan has stated that Jordan would not send troops to Iraq because he believes neighboring states of Iraq have their own agendas and it would not be helpful to the goals of the U.S. to have them in Iraq.

5. Turkey has its own agenda in Iraq, which includes suppression of the Iraqi Kurds and access to Iraqi oil.

6. Turkey’s continuing ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity and genocide against its 20% Kurdish minority of 15 million is harmful to U.S. interests in building stability and democratic institutions in Iraq and the Middle East generally.

7. Turkey’s vote on March 1, 2003 not to allow U.S. troops to use bases in Turkey to open a northern front against the Saddam Hussein dictatorship damaged U.S. interests and put U.S. troops in harms way.

8. Turkey is an aggressor nation. It has 35,00 illegal occupation troops in Cyprus and 100,000 illegal settlers in Cyprus.

9. Turkey is not a genuine democracy. It has a military dominated government with a record of horrendous human rights abuses and is the last country to be used as an example for Iraq or other Muslim nations.

10. The U.S. is seeking troops and funds from other nations to support our efforts in Iraq, yet we are paying Turkey to send troops to Iraq.

11. It is superficial to claim that the deployment of Turkish troops will repair the serious damage in U.S.-Turkish relations. Dr. Bulent Aliriza, Director of the Turkish Studies Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies stated during a TV interview on the October 7 NewsHour with Jim Lehrer at PBS:

"I’ve argued for a long time that Turkish-American relationship was a relationship born in the Cold War that really needed redefinition. The redefinition is now taking place in the heat of battle, as it were, with Iraq forcing both sides to look at what they agree and what they disagree on. You know, the dispatch of troops by themselves will not solve it. In fact, it can create a scenario in which there are Turkish casualties which heighten sensitivities in Turkey and may even exacerbate Turkish-American relations."

12. Once again we see the footprints of Richard Perle, former paid consultant to Turkey, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, Defense Under Secretary for Policy Douglas Feith, a former registered foreign agent for Turkey, and Under Secretary of State Marc Grossman, in their efforts to resurrect Turkey at the expense of U.S. interests in stabilizing Iraq and the region generally.

The issue now for the U.S. is how best to stabilize Iraq and move ahead with reconstruction and building democratic institutions. The use of Turkish troops in Iraq will set back our efforts and cause additional problems.

For more information, please contact Angeliki Vassiliou at (202) 785-8430 or For general information regarding the activities of AHI, please view our Web site at

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The American Hellenic Institute (AHI) and its affiliate organizations, the American Hellenic Institute Public Affairs Committee (AHIPAC), the American Hellenic Institute Foundation (AHIF), and the AHI Business Network, a division of the AHI, are working together under one roof, to provide a joint program for strengthening United States relations with Greece and Cyprus and within the American Hellenic community.