AHI Testimony to House Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations
The testimony of Eugene Rossides, President of the American Hellenic Institute, of May 13, 2004 on behalf of AHI and the Hellenic American National Council to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, Export Financing and Related Programs:
The following is the text of the testimony:
Chairman Kolbe, Ranking Member Lowey and Members of the Subcommittee, we appreciate very much the opportunity to present testimony to the Subcommittee.
In the interests of the United States:
Mr. Chairman, as a matter of law Turkey is ineligible for foreign aid under Sections 116 and 502B of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended, because of its "consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights" in Turkey and in Cyprus. I refer the Subcommittee Members to the State Department’s "Country Reports on Human Rights Practices—2003," released on February 25, 2004, for the country report on Turkey. I urge the members to also see the several Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch reports on Turkey.
On February 26, 2003 we sent a joint letter to President George W. Bush regarding what a senior administration official described as Turkey’s "extortion in the name of alliance" and setting forth the reasons why Turkey is not vital nor needed in the event of war with Iraq. That letter discusses Turkey’s efforts to extract even more dollars from the U.S. and a veto on U.S. policy regarding the Kurds in northern Iraq and access to Iraqi oil. The letter also discusses the moral issues involved including Turkey’s decades-long ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity and genocidal campaign against its 20 percent Kurdish minority in which the Turkish military has killed since 1984 over 30,000 innocent Kurds and through paramilitary groups assassinated 18,000 Kurds and destroyed 2,500 Kurdish villages creating 2,500,000 Kurdish refugees. (See Rouleau, supra at pages 111-112.) This letter and other pertinent letters are on our website at www.ahiworld.org.
Mr. Edward Peck, a retired U.S. ambassador who served as U.S. Chief of Mission in Baghdad from 1977 to 1980 stated in an article in theMediterranean Quarterly (Fall 2001) that the Kurds in Turkey "have faced far more extensive persecution than they do in Iraq."
Current Cyprus situation
Mr. Chairman, it may be helpful to the Subcommittee Members for me to comment on the current situation in Cyprus and on the recent Annan Plan negotiations and referenda because of their bearing on the question of aid to Turkey.
First, on May 1, 2004 Cyprus became a full voting member of the European Union along with nine other new members. While all of Cyprus is part of the EU, only the government-controlled area, 62.3 percent, will be under legal authority of the EU. The 37.3 percent controlled by 40,000 Turkish occupation forces, now in its 30th year, is under Turkey's illegal direct control. The U.S., the UN, the EU and the world community do not recognize the illegal entity called "The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus." Only Turkey does.
The Annan Plan, the negotiations and referenda
The UN Annan Plan for settlement of the Cyprus problem was a deeply flawed document made even worse by the recent negotiations, which took place in February and March 2004. President Papadopoulos of Cyprus presented proposals within the structure of the Annan Plan while the Turkish Cypriots presented proposals outside the structure of the Annan Plan. As a result no substantive progress was made.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan, under the agreement arrived at in New York between the Greeks and Turkish Cypriots on February 13, 2004, made the final edits to the Annan Plan on March 31, 2004, the fifth and final revision. An essential part of the agreement of February 13, 2004 was that the final version would be submitted to the Greek and Turkish Cypriots in separate referenda for their respective approval or rejection.
The Greek Cypriots who compromise 80 percent of the population of Cyprus, voted "no" by a majority of 75.9 percent, while the Turkish Cypriots who compromise 18 percent of Cyprus voted "yes" by a majority of 65 percent. Thus, the Annan Plan was rejected. The substantial vote majorities is indicative of the unfairness of the Annan Plan.
The Serious Flaws in the Annan Plan
The Annan Plan submitted in the fall of 2002 by the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan for negotiations for the settlement of the Cyprus problem was a more complicated version of the 1959-1960 London-Zurich agreements imposed on the Greek Cypriots by the British during the Cold War.
The fifth and final version of the Annan Plan submitted to the parties on March 31, 2004, was undemocratic, unworkable, not financially viable and needed serious changes in the interests of the U.S., as well as those of Cyprus, the UN and the European Union (EU). It also violated the UN Charter and key UN resolutions and the EU’s democratic norms and acquis communautaire.
As I am informed, the British had the primary influence in drafting the proposal, with U.S. support and acquiescence. The Annan Plan perpetuates the undemocratic features and ethnic divisions of the London-Zurich agreements.
The Annan Plan is harmful to U.S. efforts to build democratic institutions in Iraq.
The U.S. should in its own best interests be the champion of democratic norms throughout the world, not obvious undemocratic constitutions like the one proposed.
In the negotiations the U.S. should have supported changes in the Annan Plan to make it democratic, workable, viable and just.
The Annan Plan brings no credit to the UN. It would foster division and strife. Secretary-General Annan himself should have made changes in the plan in the interests of the UN to have a democratic and viable plan.
The proposal was undemocratic
The parliamentary and executive branches under the Annan Plan created a minority veto for the 18 percent Turkish Cypriot minority. It was a recipe for stalemate and harmful to all Cypriots. The Greek Cypriot proposal for a mechanism to break deadlocks was rejected.
The Annan Plan vetoes exceeded the minority vetoes of the London-Zurich 1959-1960 agreements, which vetoes led to the breakdown of the Cyprus constitution. A minority veto is undemocratic and repugnant to core U.S. values.
Is the U.S. prepared to propose the Annan Plan’s minority veto provisions for the 20% Kurdish minority of 15 - 20 million in Turkey? Is Turkey prepared to give its Kurdish minority the same rights it seeks for the Turkish Cypriots? What about the Arab minority in Israel, Turks in Bulgaria, Albanians in FYROM, Greeks in Albania and minorities in Africa, Asia and North and South America?
The U.S. support of the British maneuvered Annan Plan is, frankly, an embarrassment to our foreign policy. Rather than supporting undemocratic norms, the U.S. should promote with consistency and vigor the democratic policy espoused for Cyprus by Vice President George H.W. Bush on July 6, 1988:
"We seek for Cyprus a constitutional democracy based on majority rule, the rule of law, and the protection of minority rights.
"The proposal is unworkable
It is useful to recall that the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research called the 1959-1960 London-Zurich agreements dysfunctional. It accurately predicted the problem areas. The Annan Plan was even more complicated and created conditions for continuous squabbling, disagreements and deadlock.
The proposal violated the UN Charter and key UN resolutions
The proposal violated on its face the UN Charter preamble and Article 2, paragraph 4, which bars the threat of or the use of force, by omitting any mention of Turkey’s aggression in the summer of 1974 which violated article 2 (4) The Annan Plan also violated key UN resolutions which guarantee the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Cyprus. The Secretary-General does not have the authority to amend the UN charter or UN resolutions.
The proposal subverted property rights
One of the most pernicious effects of the illegal Turkish occupation of northern Cyprus is that the rightful owners of real property there continue to be excluded from their property by the Turkish military. The Annan Plan proposes a highly complicated, ambiguous and uncertain regime for resolving property issues and is based on the principle that real property owners can ultimately be forced to give up their property rights which would violate the European Convention on Human Rights and international law.
The proposal failed to fully demilitarize Cyprus
There is no need for Turkish or Greek soldiers to remain in Cyprus. The U.S. should insist on full demilitarization now.
The proposal did not provide for the return to Turkey of the 100,000 illegal Turkish settlers in the occupied area.
The Geneva Convention prohibits colonization by the occupying power. Central to a proper solution is the return of the 100,000 illegal Turkish settlers to Turkey.
The proposed territorial adjustment was clearly unfair
The two proposed maps—A 28.6 percent and B 28.5 percent rewarded Turkey, the aggressor and penalized the Greek Cypriots, the victims. The Turkish Cypriots comprise 18 percent of the population and have title to about 14 percent of the land. A map proposal should provide for no more than 18 percent under Turkish Cypriot administration.
The U.S. Role in the Annan Plan
The Cold War has been over for more than a decade. Turkey’s March 1, 2003 "no" vote against helping the U.S. did occur and we should not forget it! And Turkey’s attempt to extract more billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars, a veto on U.S. Iraqi Kurdish policy and access to Iraqi oil also occurred. As one senior administration official said, Turkey’s actions were "extortion in the name of alliance."
The U.S. aided and abetted Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus on July 20, 1974 and its renewed aggression on August 14-16, 1974 through the actions of then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger by his unlawful conduct in refusing to halt immediately arms to Turkey as required by U.S. law.
The U.S. Special Coordinator for Cyprus, Ambassador Tom Weston, should have sought changes in the Annan Plan to make it democratic, workable, financially viable and just in order to reflect American values and interests. Instead he continued the State Department’s policy of covering-up Kissinger’s role and the U.S. responsibility for Turkey’s aggression, by supporting the Annan Plan's wipe out of Turkey's invasion. That position would also, in effect, wipe out Turkey's aggression against Cyprus.
The U.S. bears the major responsibility for Turkey’s aggression and should now be willing to stand up and hold Turkey accountable for its aggression by calling:
The State Department’s support of the Annan Plan is directly contrary to the policy enunciated by President George H.W. Bush and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev in Helsinki on September 9, 1990 when they condemned Saddam Hussein’s aggression against Kuwait and declared "that aggression cannot and will not pay." Their joint statement reads in part:
"We are united in the belief that Iraq’s aggression must not be tolerated. No peaceful international order is possible if larger states can devour their smaller neighbors.
* * * *
We call upon the entire world community to adhere to the sanctions mandated by the United Nations.
* * * *
We are determined to see this aggression end... We must demonstrate beyond any doubt that aggression cannot and will not pay."
If Turkey refuses to cooperate the U.S. should seek UN sanctions.
Also the U.S. must not ignore the wisdom of the Eisenhower Doctrine, articulated by President Eisenhower, when he stopped the illegal invasion of Egypt by Britain, France and Israel. In a memorable televised address to the nation on October 31, 1956, he stated:
"There can be no peace without law. And there can be no law if we were to invoke one code of conduct for those who oppose us and another for our friends."
The Annan Plan and abuse of Iraqi prisoners
The U.S. abuse of Iraqi prisoners is, as has been stated by many, despicable and un-American. I commend the President for his sincere apology for the actions of a very few U.S. military.
The President stated "The acts were abhorrent" and "a stain on our country's honor and our country's reputation." Testimony in the Senate and House has shown that the U.S. military, when it learned of the problem, promptly began an investigation. The world will see how our democracy handles the matter with full disclosure and action to prosecute the wrongdoers and can compare it to how dictatorships and authoritarian governments act in similar situations.
I refer to the abuse of Iraqi prisoners’ scandal because it is my view that the Annan Plan, in effect, was attempting to cover-up (1) the far worse actions by the Turkish military against Greek Cypriot civilians in their 1974 aggression against Cyprus; and (2) the cold-blooded murder by the Turkish Cypriot militia of five Americans of Greek Cypriot descent illegally kidnapped by the Turkish forces and turned over to the Turkish Cypriot militia. The Turkish militia was under the command of Rauf Denktash, the Turkish Cypriot leader. Mr. Denktash has admitted that the five Americans were killed by the Turkish Cypriot militia.
The vehicle in the Annan Plan to do this was simply to wipe out the Turkish invasion and actions. No mention is made of Turkey’s aggression in the Annan Plan. Unbelievably, the Annan Plan actually rewarded the Turkish aggressor and punished the Greek Cypriot victims. The scenario is right out of George Orwell’s 1984.
The degree of the horrendous actions by the Turkish military in its invasion of Cyprus is set forth in a report of the European Commission on Human Rights. The government of Cyprus filed three applications to the European Commission on Human Rights. The commission issued its report on the charges made in the first two applications on July 10, 1976. In it, the Commission found Turkey guilty of violating the following articles of the European Convention on Human Rights:
On January 23, 1977, the Sunday Times of London published excerpts of the report and stated: "It amounts to a massive indictment of the Ankara government for the murder, rape and looting by its army in Cyprus during and after the Turkish invasion of summer 1974." (Sunday Times of London, Jan. 23, 1997, at 1, col.1.)
One can imagine the world's reaction if there were photographs in the media and on the internet of the rapes and murders and of the "inhuman treatment of prisoners and persons detained."
Mr. Chairman, ranking Member Lowey and Members of the subcommittee, this Subcommittee has been misled by officials of the State department regarding appropriations for Turkey. The key official responsible for U.S. policy towards Turkey is Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Marc Grossman. He has been in the forefront of the cover-up policy and the policy of a double standard on the rule of law for Turkey and the appeasement of Turkey. For all of the above, we urge the Subcommittee to reject the administration’s request of the $100 million for Turkey.
For additional information, please contact Vivian Basdekis at (202) 785-8430 or at email@example.com. For general information about the activities of AHI, please see our Web site at https://www.ahiworld.org.
AHI Testimony to House Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations