The Table of Contents, Preliminary Statement and Exhibits 1-7 of the 2006 Greek American Policy Statements
WASHINGTON, DC—Following are the Table of Contents, Preliminary Statement and exhibits 1-7 of the 2006 Greek American Policy Statements. A full set of the 2006 Greek American Policy Statements can be found on AHI’s Web site: www.ahiworld.org.
Table of Contents
Section I: POLICY STATEMENTS AND THEMES
1. The U.S. Should Establish a “Special Relationship” with Greece……..2
3. Aegean Sea Boundary……………………………………………………19
5. Turkey’s Suppression of the Religious Freedom of the Ecumenical
6. Critical Review of U.S. Policy Toward Turkey Needed……………….23
7. Compensation to Turkey’s Victims……………………………………..28
10. Policy Themes ..………………………………………………………...30
Section II: LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES…………………………………....32
Exh. 1 Turkey’s Collaboration with the Soviet Military During the Cold War
Exh. 2 Wall Street Journal 2-16-05 article, “The Sick Man of Europe-
Exh. 3 “Cold Turkey,” Washington Times, 3-8-05; A17; col. 1; by Arnaud de
Exh. 4 “‘No’ to Islamist Turkey,” by Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., Washington Times,
Exh. 5 “Islamofascist Coup?,” by Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. Washington Times,
Exh. 6 Wall Street Journal 3-18-06 article, “After Ataturk: A Weekend
Exh. 7 The Annan Plan Needs Serious Changes in the Interests of the U.S.
The U.S. has important and vital interests in Southeastern Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean. These include the significant energy, commercial and communications resources that transit the region.
These policy statements deal primarily with U.S. relations with Greece, Cyprus and Turkey as they bear on overall U.S. interests in the region.
The U.S. should look to Greece as an immensely valuable link in the region. We have stated for decades that Greece is the strategic, political and economic key for the U.S. in Southeastern Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean and a proven and reliable ally. We call for a special relationship between the U.S. and Greece for the mutual benefit of both countries.
Cyprus is an important nation for U.S. interests in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East. The so-called “Sovereign British Bases” on Cyprus and the British listening posts on Cyprus are on Cyprus territory and have been of significant importance to the U.S. Cyprus is a member of the European Union (EU) and a western-oriented country. It is important to U.S. interests that it remain so.
We support a settlement of the Cyprus problem through negotiations based on a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation in a state with a single sovereignty and international personality, incorporating the norms of a constitutional democracy embracing key American principles, the EU acquis communautaire, UN resolutions on Cyprus, the pertinent decisions of the European Court of Human Rights and of other European Courts.
We specifically endorse the following statement by Vice President and Presidential candidate George H. W. Bush made on July 7, 1988 in a speech in Boston:
Turkey is the main cause of the problems in its region, the northeastern Mediterranean, the Aegean Sea and in the southern Caucasus. Turkey is hardly a model for the Muslim world or for anyone.
Turkey is a proven unreliable ally who refused to allow the U.S. to use bases in Turkey to open a northern front against the Saddam Hussein dictatorship because she wanted $6 billion more—in addition to $26 billion irresponsibly offered by the Administration through then Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz-- for a total of $32 billion. An administration official called Turkey’s negotiating tactics “extortion in the name of alliance.”
Turkey’s unreliability is not new! During the Cold War Turkey actively aided the Soviet military to the serious detriment of the U.S. (See Exhibit 1)
The U.S. in its own best interests should critically review and reassess its relations with Turkey. In addition to economic sanctions, the U.S. should consider removing trade and other benefits if Turkey refuses to:
Turkey’s invasion and occupation troops in occupied Cyprus and Turkey’s barbed wire fence are the cause of the Turkish Cypriot economic isolation, not the Government of Cyprus’ adherence to the rule of law.
Exhibit 1: Turkey's Collaboration with the Soviet Military during the Cold War
How many readers are aware that Turkey actively aided the Soviet military during the Cold War! The Turkish Parliament’s vote on March 1, 2003 not to allow U.S. troops to use bases in Turkey to open a second front against Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship is not the first time Turkey has double-crossed the U.S. Let us look at the record. As long ago as 1974, Edward Luttwak, the noted strategic analyst, discussed Turkey’s cooperation with the Soviet military during the Cold War. He wrote at that time the following:
Examples of Turkey’s disloyalty and unreliability over the past decades as a NATO ally for U.S. strategic purposes include:
U.S.-Turkey Relations Exhibit 2
Wall Street Journal February 16, 2005 article, “The Sick Man of Europe—Again” by Robert L. Pollock, a senior editorial writer (A14; col. 3.)
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
The Sick Man of Europe—Again
Islamism and leftism add up to anti-American madness in Turkey.
BY ROBERT L. POLLOCK
ANKARA, Turkey—Several years ago I attended an exhibition in Istanbul. The theme was local art from the era of the country's last military coup (1980). But the artists seemed a lot more concerned with the injustices of global capitalism than the fate of Turkish democracy. In fact, to call the works leftist caricatures—many featured fat capitalists with Uncle Sam hats and emaciated workers—would have been an understatement. As one astute local reviewer put it (I quote from memory): "This shows that Turkish artists were willing to abase themselves voluntarily in ways that Soviet artists refused even at the height of Stalin's oppression."
That exhibition came to mind amid all the recent gnashing of teeth in the U.S. over the question of "Who lost Turkey?" Because it shows that a 50-year special relationship, between longtime NATO allies who fought Soviet expansionism together starting in Korea, has long had to weather the ideological hostility and intellectual decadence of much of Istanbul's elite. And at the 2002 election, the increasingly corrupt mainstream parties that had championed Turkish-American ties self-destructed, leaving a vacuum that was filled by the subtle yet insidious Islamism of the Justice and Development (AK) Party. It's this combination of old leftism and new Islamism—much more than any mutual pique over Turkey's refusal to side with us in the Iraq war—that explains the collapse in relations.
And what a collapse it has been. On a brief visit to Ankara earlier this month with Undersecretary of Defense Doug Feith, I found a poisonous atmosphere—one in which just about every politician and media outlet (secular and religious) preaches an extreme combination of America- and Jew-hatred that (like the Turkish artists) voluntarily goes far further than anything found in most of the Arab world's state-controlled press. If I hesitate to call it Nazi-like, that's only because Goebbels would probably have rejected much of it as too crude.
Consider the Islamist newspaper Yeni Safak, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's favorite. A Jan. 9 story claimed that U.S. forces were tossing so many Iraqi bodies into the Euphrates that mullahs there had issued a fatwa prohibiting residents from eating its fish. Yeni Safak has also repeatedly claimed that U.S. forces used chemical weapons in Fallujah. One of its columnists has alleged that U.S. soldiers raped women and children there and left their bodies in the streets to be eaten by dogs. Among the paper's "scoops" have been the 1,000 Israeli soldiers deployed alongside U.S. forces in Iraq, and that U.S. forces have been harvesting the innards of dead Iraqis for sale on the U.S. "organ market."
It's not much better in the secular press. The mainstream Hurriyet has accused Israeli hit squads of assassinating Turkish security personnel in Mosul, and the U.S. of starting an occupation of Indonesia under the guise of humanitarian assistance. At Sabah, a columnist last fall accused the U.S. ambassador to Turkey, Eric Edelman, of letting his "ethnic origins"—guess what, he's Jewish—determine his behavior. Mr. Edelman is indeed the all-too-rare foreign-service officer who takes seriously his obligation to defend America's image and interests abroad. The intellectual climate in which he's operating has gone so mad that he actually felt compelled to organize a conference call with scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey to explain that secret U.S. nuclear testing did not cause the recent tsunami.
Never in an ostensibly friendly country have I had the impression of embassy staff so besieged. Mr. Erdogan's office recently forbade Turkish officials from attending a reception at the ambassador's residence in honor of the "Ecumenical" Patriarch of the Orthodox Church, who resides in Istanbul. Why? Because "ecumenical" means universal, which somehow makes it all part of a plot to carve up Turkey.
Perhaps the most bizarre anti-American story au courant in the Turkish capital is the "eighth planet" theory, which holds not only that the U.S. knows of an impending asteroid strike, but that we know it's going to hit North America. Hence our desire to colonize the Middle East.
It all sounds loony, I know. But such stories are told in all seriousness at the most powerful dinner tables in Ankara. The common thread is that almost everything the U.S. is doing in the world—even tsunami relief—has malevolent motivations, usually with the implication that we're acting as muscle for the Jews.
In the face of such slanders Turkish politicians have been utterly silent. In fact, Turkish parliamentarians themselves have accused the U.S. of "genocide" in Iraq, while Mr. Erdogan (who we once hoped would set for the Muslim world an example of democracy) was among the few world leaders to question the legitimacy of the Iraqi elections. When confronted, Turkish polls claim they can't risk going against "public opinion."
All of which makes Mr. Erdogan a prize hypocrite for protesting to Condoleezza Rice the unflattering portrayal of Turkey in an episode of the fictional TV show "The West Wing." The episode allegedly depicts Turkey as having been taking over by a retrograde populist government that threatens women's rights. (Sounds about right to me.)
In the old days, Turkey would have had an opposition party strong enough to bring such a government closer to sanity. But the only opposition now is a moribund People's Republican Party, or CHP, once the party of Ataturk. At a recent party congress, its leader accused his main challenger of having been part of a CIA plot against him. That's not to say there aren't a few comparatively pro-U.S. officials left in the current government and the state bureaucracies. But they're afraid to say anything in public. In private, they whine endlessly about trivial things the U.S. "could have done differently."
Entirely forgotten is that President Bush was among the first world leaders to recognize Prime Minister Erdogan, while Turkey's own legal system was still weighing whether he was secular enough for the job. Forgotten have been decades of U.S. military assistance. Forgotten have been years of American efforts to secure a pipeline route for Caspian oil that terminates at the Turkish port of Ceyhan. Forgotten has been the fact that U.S. administrations continue to fight annual attempts in Congress to pass a resolution condemning modern Turkey for the long-ago Armenian genocide. Forgotten has been America's persistent lobbying for Turkish membership in the European Union.
Forgotten, above all, has been America's help against the PKK. Its now-imprisoned leader, Abdullah Ocalan, was expelled from Syria in 1998 after the Turks threatened military action. He was then passed like a hot potato between European governments, who refused to extradite him to Turkey because—gasp!—he might face the death penalty. He was eventually caught—with the help of U.S. intelligence—sheltered in the Greek Embassy in Nairobi. "They gave us Ocalan. What could be bigger than that?" says one of a handful of unapologetically pro-U.S. Turks I still know.
I know that Mr. Feith (another Jew, the Turkish press didn't hesitate to note), and Ms. Rice after him, pressed Turkish leaders on the need to challenge some of the more dangerous rhetoric if they value the Turkey-U.S. relationship. There is no evidence yet that they got a satisfactory answer. Turkish leaders should understand that the "public opinion" they cite is still reversible. But after a few more years of riding the tiger, who knows? Much of Ataturk's legacy risks being lost, and there won't be any of the old Ottoman grandeur left, either. Turkey could easily become just another second-rate country: small-minded, paranoid, marginal and—how could it be otherwise?—friendless in America and unwelcome in Europe.
Mr. Pollock is a senior editorial page writer at the Journal.
U.S.-Turkey Relations Exhibit 3
Column titled “Cold Turkey” in the Washington Times, (March 8, 2005, A17; col. 1) by Arnaud de Borchgrave, editor at large of The Washington Times and United Press International.
By Arnaud de Borchgrave
No one noticed as Turkey, an erstwhile ally, nabbed the gold medal recently in the global anti-American stakes.
Those with the most negative views of the Bush administration's policies are (1) Turks with 82 percent; (2) Indonesians, 81 percent; (3) Lebanese, 80 percent; (4) Argentines, 79 percent; (5) Brazilians, 78 percent. Mercifully, half the 22,000 people surveyed in 21 countries by the BBC around the world did not agree, "America's influence on the world is very negative."
For those who see thousands of demonstrators in Beirut excoriating Syria as pro-American voices for freedom, think again. In Egypt, far more people are angry with President Hosni Mubarak for his close alliance with the United States than for denying them their political freedom.
After reading a long list of lies and distortions published by the Turkish media, the gold medal is hardly surprising. From left to right, and from centrist to Islamist, the United States is raked over hot coals with odious comparisons to Nazi Germany.
The Middle East Media Research Institute has once again scored in bringing to our attention trends our mainstream media have ignored. It is difficult to detect the difference between what Osama bin Laden said in his 19 audio and videotapes since September 11, 2001, and what some Turkish journalists write. If anything, the Turks outvenom bin Laden.
Columnist Suleyman Arif Emre wrote in the pan-Islamist daily Milli Gazette: "As we know, Germany's Hitler started World War II, and about 50 million people perished because of his ambitions. Bush is America's Hitler. Like Hitler, he too has become a curse for the world. If the world's sensible leaders don't unite against Bush to stop him, a great number of people will die because of his ambitions."
"Bush," the venomous Turk continued, "who is an ally of the Zionists, belongs to the racist philosophy too. The beliefs of Bush's evangelical church coupled with Jewish racism, which exceeds Hitler's, are sufficient proof that the 'Sharon-Bush duo' is militants of the same fanatical philosophy. Hitler said he would establish a new order if Germany won. Bush is after similar invasions."
Following Afghanistan and Iraq, President Bush's map of invasions, Mr. Emre says, includes 22 additional Islamic countries. How did he reach this figure? Because Mr. Bush is carrying out a 5,000-year-old Zionist dream to conquer everything between the valleys of the Nile and Euphrates. Mr. Bush has already "blurted out the names of Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Egypt."
Nuray Mert, another columnist for the center-left liberal daily Radikal, described Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as "one of the leading architects of the American project to push the world into chaos and carry it out in the most barbaric way." Burhan Bozgeyik, in Milli Gazette, added the Bush administration is in the hands of the worst enemies of Islam. Their hate is so deep no amount of Muslim blood (spilled by them) satisfies them...even hundreds of thousands of dead seem little for them."
The "evil triangle"—the U.S., U.K. and Israel—whose "hatred for Muslims has reached the point of madness, pretends to be Turkey's ally, but in fact it is weakening her foundations and planning to destroy her.... The so-called 'elections' were nothing but the first step toward dividing Iraq."
This would be hilarious if not for the incontrovertible fact it is believed not only by Islamist extremists but by countless millions of Muslim fundamentalists, including all who subscribe to Wahhabi tenets. And we only have ourselves to blame.
America's public policy voice is pathetically defensive. It lacks credibility. Even Al Hurrah, the federally funded U.S. satellite feed to the Arab world has at times sounded too critical of the Bush administration. This, monitors reported back to Pentagon inquiries, was "to gain credibility."
Burhan Ozfatura, a former mayor of Izmir and a columnist for the business daily Dunya, writes, "It is my sincere belief...the U.S. is run by an incompetent, very aggressive, true enemy of Islam, brainwashed with evangelical nonsense, a bloodthirsty team that is a loyal link in Israel's command-and-control system." The United States, he concludes, is the "biggest danger for Turkey, today and in the future."
Anti-Americanism is a relatively new phenomenon in Turkey. Throughout the 1990s in Turkey, 60 percent of the people had favorable views about the U.S. and its policies. The 2003 Iraq war closed many minds. The mood began souring with the advent of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Islamist-leaning ruling party.
The low point came when the Turkish parliament rejected the U.S. plan to open a northern front against Iraq. A $6 billion sweetener plus more billions in credit didn't change any minds. The U.S. 4th Infantry Division that was to spearhead the northern offensive was confined to the troopships offshore. Eventually, they sailed around the Arabian Peninsula and entered Iraq from Kuwait.
Turkish paranoia fed suspicions the United States wishes to create an independent and oil-rich Kurdish state. Turkish journalists convinced themselves, in turn, that Turkey's restive Kurds would then try to secede.
Mr. Bush has reassured Mr. Erdogan time and again the United States is firmly committed to Iraq's territorial integrity. But time and again, disinformation about U.S. intentions resurfaces courtesy of the wild bunch in the Turkish media.
Turkey's bid to join the European Union has also lost momentum over Ankara's reluctance to recognize Cyprus, an island nation Turkish troops invaded in 1974 to block a Greek Cypriot coup that sought union with Greece. EU says it's a sine qua non. The Turks still occupy the northern third of Cyprus.
Negotiations for EU membership are expected to take 10 to 15 years—and the first session isn't scheduled till next Oct. 3.
Arnaud de Borchgrave is editor at large of The Washington Times and of United Press International.
Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.’s Article Exhibit 4
Column titled “‘No’ to Islamist Turkey” in the Washington Times, (September 27, 2005, Commentary Page) by Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. is president of the Center for Security Policy and a columnist for The Washington Times.
'NO' TO ISLAMIST TURKEY
By Frank J. Gaffney Jr.
On Oct. 3, representatives of the European Union and the Turkish government of Islamist Recep Erdogan will meet to determine if Muslim Turkey will be allowed to seek full membership in the EU. It will be best for Turkey, to say nothing of Europe and the West more generally, if the EU answer under present circumstances is: "Thanks, but no thanks."
The reason Europe should politely, but firmly, reject Turkey's bid should be clear: Prime Minister Erdogan is systematically turning his country from a Muslim secular democracy into an Islamofascist state governed by an ideology anathema to European values and freedoms.
Evidence of such an ominous transformation is not hard to find.
At the very least, over time, the cumulative effect of having the conscript-based Turkish army obliged to fill its ranks with products of an increasingly Islamist-dominated educational system cannot be positive for either the Europeans or the Free World beyond. Especially as Mr. Erdogan seeks to put into effect what has been dubbed a "zero-problem" policy toward neighboring Iran and Syria, the military's historical check on the gravitational pull toward Islamofascism is likely to recede.
Consequently, the EU's representatives should not only put on ice any invitation to Turkey to join the European Union next week. They should make it clear the reason is Mr. Erdogan's Islamist takeover: The prime minister is making Turkey ineligible for membership on the grounds that the AKP program will inevitably ruin his nation's economy, radicalize its society and eliminate Ankara's ability to play Turkey's past, constructive role in the geographic "cockpit of history."
It is to be hoped this meeting will serve one other purpose, as well: It should compel the Europeans to begin to address their own burgeoning problem with Islamofascism. Both Europe, Turkey and, for that matter, the rest of the world, need to find ways to empower moderate Muslims who oppose Islamists like Turkey's Erdogan. Oct. 3 would be a good time to start.
Frank J. Gaffney Jr. is president of the Center for Security Policy and a columnist for The Washington Times.
Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.’s Article Exhibit 5
Column titled “Islamofascist Coup?” in the Washington Times, (March 14, 2006, Commentary Page) by Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.
By Frank J. Gaffney Jr.
A bellwether may prove to be Turkey, the modern and very secular state created some 80 years ago by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk on the ashes of a theocratic Ottoman Empire defeated in World War I. His legacy has been one of the best hopes for believing Muslims could practice their faith without being subjected to the dictates of repressive theocracy.
It is important to note that the guarantor of that secular government in Turkey—sometimes at the expense of democratic rule—has historically been the country's military. For this reason among others, the armed forces remain Turks' most highly regarded institution.
Ending Ataturk's experiment and restoring the Muslim caliphate it supplanted has long been a goal of Islamofascists, adherents to a dangerous political movement whose global reach and terrorist methods have largely been enabled by decades of investment by the world's repressive Islamist regimes, led by Saudi Arabia. The rise of Islamofascism has prompted some in the West to hope Turkey would continue to serve as a model for the Muslim world even after an avowed Islamist named Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2002 parlayed a minority of votes into a monopoly of power.
This delusion contributed to the European Union allowing its negotiations for Turkish accession to the EU to be skillfully used by Mr. Erdogan to checkmate Turkey's military. Thus, had the armed forces acted to prevent Mr. Erdogan's creeping Islamofascist coup against the country's secular institutions and traditions, they would have been blamed for keeping Turkey "out of Europe."
Six months ago, this column documented the comprehensive nature of Mr. Erdogan's takeover. To recap:
First, a local prosecutor, clearly acting on orders from higher up, indicted a prominent secular academic—a university rector named Yucel Askin—on preposterously trumped-up charges. Their subsequent dismissal by a court has only intensified Mr. Erdogan's determination to subvert the judiciary. Tens of thousands of Koranic school graduates are being appointed as judges, assuring they will increasingly serve as instruments of Sharia religious law.
Worse yet, Mr. Erdogan has lately demonstrated that when he does not get his way in court, he is prepared to dispense with the judiciary altogether. This was the upshot of another government-inspired assault on the country's secular universities, a case brought before the European Court of Human Rights by a female student who insisted on wearing a prohibited hijab (headcovering) to class.
When this appeal was rejected, Mr. Erdogan angrily declared, "The court has no right to speak on this issue. That right belongs to the ulema (clerics)."
Emboldened by the success of this gambit, Mr. Erdogan has now gone after one of Turkey's most highly regarded generals, Land Force Commander Gen. Yasar Buyukanit, who is widely expected to become the head of the Turkish military this summer. He is a courageous and outspoken anti-Islamist and the regime clearly views his ascendancy as a threat and had the same local prosecutor who went after the university rector file no-less-absurd charges against Gen. Buyukanit.
Fortunately, the cumulative effect of Mr. Erdogan's Islamofascist assault on Turkish democracy is becoming more apparent to his countrymen and opposition appears to be rising at home. It behooves the European Union to reinforce the political effect of such sentiment by making clear that Islamofascist behavior will preclude Turkey from membership, not efforts by the Turkish military to counter the Islamists' takeover.
And the U.S. and other freedom-loving nations must make it clear they view an Islamist Turkey as no model for the Muslim world and a threat to Turkey's standing as a valued member of the Free World.
Frank J. Gaffney Jr. is president of the Center for Security Policy and a columnist for The Washington Times. He blogs at www.WarFooting.com.
Robert L. Pollock Article Exhibit 6
Column titled “After Ataturk” in the Wall Street Journal, (March 18, 2006, A8; Commentary) by Robert L. Pollock
THE WEEKEND INTERVIEW
BY ROBERT L. POLLOCK
ANKARA—"They might ban you from re-entering the United States," Tayyip Erdogan says with a smile. I've just told him I've been to see the anti-American, anti-Semitic, anti-Christian Turkish blockbuster "Valley of the Wolves—Iraq." And the Turkish prime minister deflects my follow-up about whether he's seen it as well. "What did you think of the movie?" he says, turning interviewer himself. To which I reply that it made me sad. While there are many things one might criticize about U.S. policy in Iraq—and I do go out of my way to concede this point—the suggestion that U.S. troops are murdering and dismembering Iraqis to facilitate a Jewish organ-selling scheme isn't one of them.
"Maybe they made this movie without going and living in Iraq," Mr. Erdogan replies. "Because it's very important to live the country to experience the country. That's why I saw the article you wrote about us in this manner. Because it was an article written without knowing Turkey and without knowing us. I was very sad when I read that." The exchange is typical Erdogan—clever, confident and, although obviously evasive, also human. Put these traits together with a roaring economy and an utterly hapless opposition and it's pretty obvious why the prime minister is the most popular Turkish leader since Turgut Ozal and has no serious rival ahead of elections due by next year.
As for that "article" he's talking about, there's a story there. Only a year ago many intellectuals and politicians in Turkey seemed to be in the grip of anti-American madness. Headlines calling U.S. soldiers "Murderer Johnny" were the norm atop newspaper articles describing imagined atrocities such as the use of chemical weapons—and, yes, organ theft—committed against civilians in Iraq. Turkey's opposition leader accused the CIA of plotting an internal party coup against him. And there were reports that secret U.S. nuclear testing had been the real cause of the Indian Ocean tsunami. Needless to say, this wasn't exactly becoming behavior for a NATO ally—and I said so, in a February 2005 op-ed piece on these pages (available here) that might be described, fairly, as having pulled no punches in its account of Turkish anti-Americanism.
I suspected that for most Turks—on average the best-mannered and most civilized people one will ever meet—the mere realization that the world was actually paying attention to this ridiculous discourse would have a curative effect. And it did. "I cannot remember any instance of so powerful a public outcry generated by a newspaper article, not by me, not by any others in Turkey," wrote a veteran Turkish columnist of my op-ed. But it also generated a fair amount of honest soul-searching, and a vast improvement in the content and tone of public debate.
And yet...a year later I am sitting in the prime minister's office and organ-selling is being discussed again. Although most writers and intellectuals disavow "Valley of the Wolves" and profess not to have seen the film, it was surely last year's headlines that inspired it.
To his immense credit, Mr. Erdogan does not himself traffic in anti-American rhetoric. And he reaffirms the value of Turkey's "strategic partnership" with the U.S. But neither will he just come straight out and condemn this movie, which is probably the most religiously and racially divisive film to reach mass audiences in Europe since World War II.
"I believe the people who made this movie took media reports as their basis...for example Abu Ghraib prison—we have seen this on TV, and now we are watching Guantanamo Bay in the world media, and of course it could be that this movie was prepared under these influences," Mr. Erdogan says. "Of course," I reply, "but do you believe that many Turks have such a view of America, that we're the kind of people who'd go to Iraq and kill people to take their organs?"
Mr. Erdogan: "These kind of things happen in the world. If it's not happening in Iraq, then its happening in other countries." Me: "Which kind of things? Killing people to take their organs?" Mr. Erdogan: "I'm not saying they are being killed.... There are people in poverty who use this as a means to get money. But of course the things portrayed in the movie are different things." Well, thanks for clearing that up!
I am a little disappointed. Mr. Erdogan tells me he wants an "alliance of civilizations, not a clash of civilizations." He tells me he wants Turkey to be a "bridge" between East and West. But that role would seem to require a little more leadership on such obvious cases of defamation.
I move on to the issue of what America can do to improve its image in Turkey. Mr. Erdogan cites "developments in Iraq" as the main source of the problem. I ask if he's uncomfortable with the U.S. strategy of promoting democracy in the region. He tells me that "As Turkey, we are trying to convey our own deep experience with democracy to the region. That's why we have taken part in the [U.S.-backed] Greater Middle Eastern project.... We're working on democracy, human rights and the rule of law." But he stresses that "we believe that all problems can be solved and should be solved at the negotiating table" and that "pushing, pressuring is not going to give any results." The bottom line: "We have the same idea as the United States regarding the goal of the project but maybe the method which should be used is different."
One specific area where the U.S. and Turkey now differ over method is the Israeli-Palestinian issue. The U.S. and Israel have sought to isolate Hamas diplomatically until it renounces violence and recognizes Israel. But in February the Erdogan government invited Hamas to Ankara for a high-profile—and controversial—visit. What did he hope to accomplish?
"There was an election in Palestine and there was a result of this election," Mr. Erdogan says. "This is the choice of the Palestinian people. And isn't it respecting democracy when you respect the wish of the Palestinian people? After the election has been done we cannot say the result was not as we wanted so we are not going to accept it." He continues: "So what we have to do here is support these people, to make them give up their arms and also make them accept that Israel and Palestine have a legitimate right to exist." He adds, finally, that "maybe even my friends have told them things that no other country could tell them." These arguments are not without merit, although his government certainly might have displayed more confidence in them by not dissembling about the visit until the day it actually happened.
I want to give Mr. Erdogan an opportunity to explain his undeniable domestic achievements. What has he tried to accomplish? He tells me about tackling the "three Ys": The letter "y" begins the Turkish words for corruption, poverty and prohibitions. Let's start with the latter. It's worth recalling that Mr. Erdogan was initially unable to claim his election victory after falling afoul of Turkish laws banning overly religious political expression. That needed to change, and Mr. Erdogan can justly brag that "no person has entered jail for expressing their thoughts during my term. Turkey is a country of freedoms."
On poverty, too, there is little doubt Mr. Erdogan is making much progress. I comment on how much richer Turkey seems since I first started visiting in the late '90s. Mr. Erdogan boasts that growth over the past three years has averaged 8 percent annually, and that per capita income has risen to about $5,000 (it's much, much higher, of course, in cities like Ankara and Istanbul). A major factor here has been that Turkey has finally beaten inflation, which was down to 7.7 percent at the end of last year from more than 30 percent before. This has fueled an unprecedented expansion in consumer credit and some Turks believe it's a "bubble." But I think they're more likely witnessing the real and permanent benefits of a stable currency.
Another factor is that Mr. Erdogan has helped make Turkey much more friendly to entrepreneurship. He tells me that the corporate tax rate has dropped to 20 percent from 33 percent, and that the top personal tax rate has fallen to 35 percent from 45 percent and "it will go down" further. And when I ask about his hopes for a legacy, it is interesting that he answers first in economic terms: "At the end of the next [government] term—2012—a Turkey which achieved $10,000 per capita income." He sounds like a fervent supply-sider!
But time is running short, and I can't let him go without asking about Iran. Is he worried about the nuclear program? "Why should we be scared? As you know we are a member of NATO. And as well we were neighbors of the Soviet Union for a long time. We weren't afraid in those days, why should we be afraid now?"
In other words, you've got our backs. It just so happens that during the middle of this exchange one of the prime minister's advisers receives word that International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei wants Turkey to play a mediating role on the issue.
As we take photos and exchange pleasantries at the end, Mr. Erdogan asks about my marital status, and then my prospects. I'm told he asks that of a lot of people. It is a revealing habit.
Ever since Mr. Erdogan's Islamic-oriented Justice and Development Party swept to power on 35 percent of the vote in 2002 elections (amazingly, only one other party passed the 10 percent threshold for parliamentary representation), people have questioned whether his smooth manner wasn't cover for a more radical agenda to fundamentally change the secular character of the Turkish Republic established by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. I see no reason to believe this is the case.
Socially, Justice and Development might be best analogized to "family values" conservatives here in the U.S.—albeit a bit extreme, perhaps Mormonesque, in their dedication to clean living. (No alcohol, obviously, and smoking, too, is frowned on.) Economically, Mr. Erdogan would fit comfortably into the mainstream of American conservatism. His is the most effective government to lead Turkey for more than a decade, and he has used his large majority in Parliament to pass the hard but necessary reforms needed to prepare Turkey for membership in the European Union and in the modern world generally.
No, if there is any cause for concern here, it would be the undeniable fact that Turkey's first successful overtly Islamic prime minister has cultural and foreign policy compasses different from those of earlier Turkish leaders, who have inclined steadily toward the West. I sense a deeper estrangement at work than mere disagreement over Iraq, and whether or not to use force to remove roadblocks to democracy in the Middle East. "When we took office there was a Turkey which was not having talks with its neighbors. Now Turkey is having a dialogue with all of them. That's why we don't want any bombs to fall anymore in our region," Mr. Erdogan says.
But can he really believe this saccharine rhetoric, and that "all problems" can be solved at the negotiating table? (It's been less than a decade since Turkey nearly invaded Syria.) Or is it mere cover for the theories of advisers who believe that Turkey can be a bigger player on the world stage by distancing itself from the U.S.? And does he not recognize the import of the concession that his somewhat cavalier confidence on Iran is possible because NATO (i.e., the U.S.) ultimately stands behind Turkey? After all, such "strategic" alliances are not written in stone. They are dependent over the long term on public attitudes in the countries involved. As I leave his office I wonder how carefully he has thought through what would seem to be a most pressing question: Of what value will Turkey's opinion really be in a world of increasing or unresolved tension with the U.S. and where, God forbid, the mad mullahs next door have nukes?
Mr. Pollock is a member of The Wall Street Journal's editorial board.
The Annan Plan Needs Serious Changes In The Interests Of The U.S Exhibit 7
The Annan Plan, originally submitted in November 2002, was regarded by Cyprus, Greece and the international community as a basis for negotiations. The Annan Plan has gone through several modifications. Annan Plan-5, was the version submitted for separate referenda votes by the Greek and Turkish Cypriots on April 24, 2004. The Greek Cypriots overwhelmingly voted “no” by 76 percent and the Turkish Cypriots voted “yes” by 65 percent.
Modifications in the Annan Plan-5 are needed to make it democratic, workable, financially viable, just and compatible with EU norms and the EU acquis communautaire, the emerging European constitution, UN resolutions, American principles and human rights standards.
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 is a more complicated version of the 1959-1960 London-Zurich agreements imposed on the Greek Cypriots by the British during the Cold War.
As currently written the Annan Plan is undemocratic and unworkable and needs serious changes in the interests of the U.S. as well as those of Cyprus, the UN and the European Union (EU). It also violates key UN resolutions and the EU’s democratic norms and acquis communautaire.
The British had the primary influence in drafting the proposal with Lord David Hannay being the chief British interlocutor. The U.S. acquiesced and aided the British. The Annan Plan-5 perpetuates the undemocratic features and ethnic divisions of the London-Zurich agreements. The Cold War is over yet the British continue their policy of setting one ethnic group off against another.
The Annan Plan-5 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. The U.S. should support changes in Annan Plan-5 to make it democratic, workable, financially viable and just.
Annan Plan-5 fostered division and strife. Secretary-General Annan himself should seek changes in the plan in the interests of the UN to have a democratic and viable plan.
The proposal is undemocratic.
The parliamentary system under the Annan Plan creates a minority veto for the 18 percent Turkish Cypriot minority. The following key legislative matters among others would be subject to the Turkish Cypriot veto:
The minority veto is also present in the Presidential Council which exercises the executive power of the component state. Political paralysis in the exercise of executive power will be the result.
The Annan Plan vetoes exceed the minority vetoes of the London-Zurich 1959-1960 agreements, which vetoes led to the breakdown of the Cyprus constitution.
Is the U.S. prepared to propose the Annan Plan’s minority veto provisions for the 20 percent Kurdish minority of 15 plus million in Turkey? Is Turkey prepared to give its Kurdish minority 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. position in 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 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; " and by presidential candidate Governor Bill Clinton in 1992: " A Cyprus settlement should be consistent with the fundamental principles of human rights and democratic norms and practices."
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 predicted the problem areas. The Annan Plan is even more complicated and creates conditions for continuous squabbling, disagreements and deadlock.
The proposal violates key UN resolutions
The proposal violates on its face important UN resolutions which guarantee the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Cyprus.
The proposal subverts property rights
The proposal fails to fully demilitarize Cyprus
There is no need for Turkish soldiers to remain in Cyprus. How could such a proposal be made by the UN? And, unbelievably, Annan-5 provided for increased intervention rights. The U.S. should insist on full demilitarization now.
The proposal does not provide for the return to Turkey of the 120,000 illegal Turkish settlers in the occupied area in violation of the Geneva Convention of 1949
Central to a proper solution is the return of the 110,000 illegal Turkish settlers to Turkey.
The proposed territorial adjustment is clearly unfair
The two proposed maps—A 28.6 percent and B 28.5 percent reward Turkey, the aggressor and penalize 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 the Turkish Cypriots.
The Turkish government is absolved for its invasion and aggression against Cyprus
The Turkish government is absolved for its invasion and aggression against Cyprus, the enormous destruction it did to Cyprus, the killings on a substantial scale of innocent civilians, rapes of women from 12-71, the large scale looting and destruction of churches.
The U.S. should seek changes in the Annan Plan to reflect U.S. values and interests
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 are "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 and his oath of office.
The U.S. should be seeking changes in Annan Plan-5 to make it democratic, workable, financially viable and just. The U.S. bears the major responsibility for Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus and should now be willing to stand up and hold Turkey accountable for its aggression by calling:
The Annan Plan contains elements 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 Iraq’s aggression against Kuwait and declared "that aggression cannot and will not pay."
The Cyprus government has long advocated the demilitarization of the island. The U.S. should support the demilitarization of Cyprus and the inclusion of Cyprus in the European Common Foreign and Security Policy. For demilitarization to succeed Turkey must withdraw all its armed forces from Cyprus. It is inconceivable that Turkey, a non-EU state can maintain troops and have intervention rights in an EU country.
For additional information, please contact Georgia Economou at (202) 785-8430 or email@example.com. For general information regarding the activities of AHI, please view our Web site at https://www.ahiworld.org.
The Table of Contents, Preliminary Statement and Exhibits 1-7 of the 2006 Greek American Policy Statements