The 2007 Greek American Policy Statements
Table of Contents
Kofi Annan praised
Policy Statements and Themes
The policies set forth herein are based in each case on the question of what is in the best interests of the United States.
The U.S. has important 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.
Greece as an immensely valuable link for the U.S. 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.
Aegean Sea Boundary
Turkey has made an outrageous claim to one-half of the Aegean Sea and refuses to take its maritime boundary claim to the International Court of Justice at the Hague for a binding ruling. The U.S. should publicly state that it accepts as final the treaty-defined demarcation of the maritime border between Greece and Turkey in the Aegean Sea. The relevant agreements are the Lausanne Treaty of 1923, the Italy-Turkey Convention of January 4, 1932, the Italy-Turkey Protocol of December 28, 1932 and the 1947 Paris Peace Treaty, under which the Dodecanese Islands and adjacent islets were ceded by Italy to Greece.
The U.S. is a signatory to the 1947 Paris Peace Treaty and is obligated by U.S. law to carry out its provisions. The State Department has refused to declare publicly what the law is and should do so now. The U.S. should also vigorously repudiate any challenge to the treaty-defined boundary and should urge Turkey to submit its claim to the International Court of Justice in the Hague for binding arbitration.
Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
We call on the U.S., in its own self- interest, to strongly support a name for this former Yugoslav republic that does not include the word “Macedonia.” Since antiquity, the name Macedonia has referred to a geographical region, not to a nationality.
When Marshal Tito fashioned the puppet “Socialist Republic of Macedonia” from the southern Yugoslav province of Vardar-Banovina in December 1944, he did so to foment disorder in northern Greece in furtherance of his plan to communize the Balkan Peninsula and gain control of the key port city of Salonica. “Macedonian” nationalism was a product of Tito's fabrications. In December 1944 the U.S. vigorously opposed the use of the name Macedonia by Tito. Secretary of State Edward R. Stettinius, Jr., in a Circular Airgram (Dec. 26, 1944) stated:
Our policy was valid then and it should be valid now.
The Truman Doctrine and massive financial aid under the Marshall Plan foiled Tito’s hopes for communizing Greece.
The State Department’s reversal of policy on November 4, 2004 by the recognition of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) as the “Republic of Macedonia” was an act of disgraceful proportions as it relates to our staunch ally and supporter in the Balkans, Greece; and was and is harmful to U.S. interests in the Balkans.
We call on President Bush to reconsider this misinformed and ill-advised policy and to tell the State Department to withdraw recognition of FYROM as Macedonia as in the best interests of the United States.
We call on President Bush to inform FYROM to continue in good faith its diplomatic dialogue with Greece on the name issue under UN auspices.
Although some improvements have been made lately in the conditions and treatment of the Greek minority, continuing acts of discrimination and persecution tolerated by the government of Albania against the nation's ethnic Greek minority constitute subtle ethnic cleansing aimed at making ethnic Greeks feel isolated, powerless and vulnerable so that they will abandon their homes and move south to Greece.
The personal safety of ethnic Greeks in Albania is also at risk by reason of direct intimidation by security forces and the burning of schools, churches and businesses by lawless bands that the police allow to operate with impunity. Nowhere are ethnic Greeks given a fair deal or even a fair count. Although Albania successfully sought a census to measure the Albanian minority in neighboring FYROM, its government resists the demand of the European Union to measure its minorities, so it can continue to claim that the Greek minority is small when it constitutes at least 10 percent of the country's 3.5 million population.
We call on the U.S. government, in its own interest and the interest of maintaining peace and stability in the southern Balkans, to undertake an intense diplomatic dialogue with the government of Albania to ensure that the rule of law is observed and minority and basic human rights are protected. The U.S must make clear that Albania must treat its minorities fairly and humanely the way it wants Albanian minorities in neighboring countries to be treated.
Visa Waiver Program
Participation in the visa-waiver program is of high importance to Greece, as it will facilitate short-term business travel and enhance tourism between our two nations. Greece’s participation should be equally important to the U.S., as it will make it easier for millions of Americans of Greek descent to welcome their Greek relatives and friends to our nation.
Greece has met all the technical requirements for participation. The new machine-readable passports comply with all relevant provisions of the International Civil Aviation Organization. And Administration officials have recognized that Greece’s new “state of the art” passports should serve as a model for other countries. In addition, if a passport is lost or stolen, both Schengen Information System (SIS) and the Interpol database (EASF), to which the United States has direct access, are immediately updated.
Based on our shared democratic values, Greece and the U.S. have been allied in every major international conflict of the 20th century. Today, Greece and the United States continue to stand united, combining forces in facing the challenges of the new millennium, including the global war on terrorism.
Greece was deemed ready for prompt participation in the Visa Waiver Program in 1999. Given all that Greece has accomplished in the interim, it is inconceivable that Greece remains the only Schengen country that does not participate in the program.
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 Cypriot 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.
Invite President Tassos Papadopoulos for a State visit
The government of Cyprus and the Greek Cypriots, under the leadership of President Tassos Papadopoulos, played an exceptional role in evacuating 14,000 Americans from Lebanon during the Israel-Lebanon conflict.
We urge President George W. Bush to invite President Papadopoulos for a state visit in recognition of: (1) Cyprus’ efforts in evacuating 14,000 American from Lebanon; (2) for President Papadopoulos’ initiative with Secretary-General Kofi Annan on February 28, 2006, and (3)the subsequent agreement of July 8, 2006 between President Papadopoulos and the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Alt Talat initiated by UN Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Ibrahim Gambari.
That agreement included a “Commitment to the unification of Cyprus based on a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation and political equality, as set out in the relevant Security Council resolutions,” and an “Agreement to begin a process immediately, involving bi-communal discussion of issues that affect day to day life of the people and concurrently those that concern substantive issues both of which will contribute to a comprehensive settlement.”
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:
We have long-called for the demilitarization of Cyprus. We note and endorse the statement of former Senator Bob Dole on the Senate floor in 1978 calling for the demilitarization of Cyprus. (See Exhibit 1)
We call for the withdrawal of Turkey’s 40,000 occupation troops illegally in Cyprus and the return to Turkey of the 140,000 illegal settlers/colonists from Turkey in violation of the Geneva Convention of 1949.
We urge our government to tell Turkey to tear down the green line barbed wire fence across the face of Cyprus which, together with Turkey’s 40,000 occupation forces, isolates the Turkish Cypriots in occupied northern Cyprus.
Turkey’s new threat to Peace
The Cyprus government signed an agreement with Lebanon and Egypt for joint exploration of oil and natural gas in an area 125 miles wide between Cyprus and the Mediterranean’s southern coast.
We note with concern that the Turkish government has threatened to block exploration asserting—incredibly—that it has rights in the area. Turkey, which is 40 miles from the northern coast of Cyprus, has no rights in the continental shelf of Cyprus, or in the area.
Turkey’s threats against Cyprus and in effect, Lebanon and Egypt, regarding the oil and gas exploration agreements puts Turkey in direct violation of the United Nations Charter preamble and article 2, paragraph 4, and the NATO Treaty Preamble and Article 1.
We call on our government to condemn Turkey’s threats and to inform Turkey that its threats violate the UN Charter preamble and article 2(4) and the NATO Treaty preamble and article 1. We note that the agreements have been concluded between sovereign states and conform to the various treaties on the law of the sea.
On March 5, 2007, U.S. Ambassador to Cyprus, Ronald Schlicher made a forthright statement that Cyprus is a sovereign country and has the right to conclude agreements with Lebanon and Egypt. In response to questions regarding Turkey’s comments on Cyprus’ right to exploit possible oil and gas reserves in its economic zone, Ambassador Schlicher said:
Ecumenical Patriarchate And Halki Theological School
The Turkish government has tolerated assaults against its Greek Orthodox Christian religious minority, the Ecumenical Patriarchate and continues the illegal closure of the Greek Orthodox Halki Patriarchal School of Theology in Istanbul. These actions violate U.S. principles on freedom of religion. The U.S. law expressed in Section 2804 of the Fiscal Year 1999 Appropriations Bill, calls for the Turkish government to safeguard the Ecumenical Patriarchate, its personnel, and its property, and to reopen the Halki Patriarchal School of Theology.
His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in North America led a panel discussion at the U.S. Helsinki Commission on March 16, 2005 which presented a clear picture of how religious human rights violations by the Turkish government have been working to exterminate the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Orthodox Christian community in that country. The panel briefing “highlighted Turkey’s systemic efforts to undermine the Orthodox Church, violating numerous international treaties to which it has agreed.”
Archbishop Demetrios and Dr. Anthony Limberakis “detailed the severe restrictions on property ownership which have allowed the government to confiscate nearly 7,000 properties from the Ecumenical Patriarchate since 1936. Behind them stood placard-size photos of the most recently seized property, an orphanage on Buyukada island which once housed hundreds of homeless children.”
Under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, the President is obligated to oppose violations of religious freedom in any country whose government “engages in or tolerates violations of religious freedom and promote the right to religious freedom in that country”. The Act further obligates the President to take one or more of 15 enumerated actions with respect to any such country.
U.S. Helsinki Commission Co-Chairman Congressman Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ) stated: “The concern of this Commission is the protection of religious rights and freedoms. Turkey’s treatment of the Ecumenical Patriarchate violates its obligations under international human rights law.” Mr. Smith blamed Turkey for systemically attempting to prevent the activities of the Patriarchate by disallowing the opening of the Halki Theological School forcibly closed in 1971, destroying churches by creating hurdles preventing their repair, denying the Patriarchate the opportunity to purchase and or sell property and not recognizing the Patriarchate’s ”Ecumenical” status, in effect, denying its universal status.
Critical Review of U.S. Policy Toward Turkey Needed
Turkey is the main cause of the problems in its region, the northeastern Mediterranean, the Aegean Sea, the northern Middle East 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.” (New York Times, Feb. 20, 2003; A1; col. 6.)
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 2)
The U.S. in its own best interests should critically review and reassess its relations with Turkey. In addition to economic sanctions and an arms embargo, the U.S. should consider removing trade and other benefits if Turkey refuses to:
Turkey’s invasion and occupation troops in northern 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.
The U.S.’s successful prosecution of the war against Iraq without access from Turkey proved Turkey’s limited value as a strategic military resource in the region. Today, the U.S. has access to alternative military facilities in the region including countries in the Eastern Balkans, Middle East, Central Asia, Afghanistan, and in Iraq itself.
Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe and Emerging Threats, said, “ It’s my belief in the larger picture, what the United States has to do is fundamentally reexamine its relationship with the nation of Turkey. If the United States comes to the realization that our interest, as it has always been, is in dealing with other just nations to advance the cause of constitutional government and human rights, I believe that this course of action will be beneficial to everyone.”
Compensation and Damages To Turkey's Victims
We cite the compensation and damages paid by the government of Germany to holocaust victims and to the state of Israel and the government of Japan to the victims of its actions in Asia before and during World War II. We call on the U.S. government to press Turkey to pay compensation and damages:
Turkey, under threat of expulsion from the Council of Europe, finally complied with the ruling of the European Court and paid the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights which awarded $1.3 million in damages to Titina Loizidou for the violation of her property rights in the occupied area in connection with Turkey’s illegal invasion of Cyprus in 1974 and its continuing illegal occupation. It demonstrates that forceful action regarding Turkey will bring results. We call for payments to all similarly situated Greek Cypriots and other owners of property in the occupied area, including American owners. We also note that Turkey has not implemented that part of the ruling which called for the restitution of Loizidou’s property.
Since its founding in 1974, AHI has consistently advocated the following policy themes as in the best interests of the United States:
“There can be no peace without law. And there can be no law if we were to invoke one code of international conduct for those who oppose us and another for our friends.” President Dwight D. Eisenhower, condemning the invasion of Egypt by Britain, France, and Israel in his October 31, 1956, television and radio report to the nation. President Eisenhower’s actions halted and reversed the aggression.
"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…. [W]e are determined to see this aggression end, and if the current steps fail to end it, we are prepared to consider additional ones consistent with the U.N. Charter. We must demonstrate beyond any doubt that aggression cannot and will not pay." Joint Statement by President George H.W. Bush and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev on September 9,1990.
“We have before us the opportunity to forge for ourselves and for future generations a new world order, a world where the rule of law, not the rule of the jungle, governs the conduct of nations.” President George H.W. Bush, on January 16, 1991, the day the Persian Gulf air war began against Iraqi forces.
“Most Americans know instinctively why we are in the Gulf....They know that we need to build a new, enduring peace based not on arms races and confrontation but on shared principles and the rule of law.” President George H.W. Bush’s January 29, 1991, State of the Union address.
“This is a victory for the United Nations, for all mankind, for the rule of law and for what is right.” President George H.W. Bush’s February 27, 1991 announcement to the nation that “Kuwait is liberated.”
“We seek for Cyprus a constitutional democracy based on majority rule, the rule of law, and the protection of minority rights….I want to see a democratic Cyprus free from the threat of war.” Presidential candidate Vice President George H. W. Bush statement on July 7, 1988 in a speech in Boston.
“A Cyprus settlement should be consistent with the fundamental principles of human rights and democratic norms and practices.” Statement by presidential candidate Governor Bill Clinton in 1992.
To give legislative effect to the policies set forth in the 2007 Greek American Policy Statements, we have worked with the 110th Congress and reintroduced legislation from the 109th Congress as follows:
We are working with the 110th Congress to reintroduce the following legislation from the 109th Congress:
This legislation was introduced by Robert E. Andrews (D-NJ) on April 21, 2005 with four co-sponsors: Michael Bilirakis (R-FL); Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY); James P. McGovern (D-MA); and Diane E. Watson (D-CA) and was referred to the House International Relations Subcommittee on Europe. There were 27 co-sponsors.
This legislation was introduced by Robert E. Andrews (D-NJ) on December 14, 2005 with Michael Bilirakis (R-FL); Brad Sherman (D-CA); Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY); Barbara Lee (D-CA); Frank Pallone (D-NJ); Shelley Berkley (D-NV); Diane Watson (D-CA); Linda T. Sanchez (D-CA); and Dennis Kucinich (D-OH). There were 12 co-sponsors.
We will also work with the 110th Congress to introduce:
Background and Expanded Discussion
1. The U.S. Should Establish a “Special Relationship” with Greece
The U.S. has important interests in Southeastern Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean. These include the significant energy, commercial and communications resources that transit 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. The U.S. should do more to capitalize on Greece’s location and close cultural, political, and economic ties to the Mediterranean countries, Western Europe, Southeastern Europe, and the Middle East in advancing U.S. interests. We call for a “special relationship” between the U.S. and Greece for the mutual benefit of both countries.
On March 20, 2005, President Bush met with Prime Minister Konstantine Karamanlis at the White House. The following are their welcoming remarks from the Oval Office:
On March 23, 2006, Secretary Rice met with Dora Bakoyannis, the newly appointed Foreign Minister of Greece, and reiterated her views on the strategic partnership between the U.S. and Greece. Their press conference remarks are as follows in part:
https://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/pix/2006/63633.htm Secretary Rice: “We've had a great opportunity to discuss our strategic partnership with Greece. This is a relationship that is first and foremost, of course, based on values. It is a relationship that recognizes the seminal role of Greece as a cradle of those values and recognizes that in the modern era in which we find ourselves now with so many challenges that Greece is a stalwart partner in the spread of democratic values, whether it be in Greece's work in the Broader Middle East Initiative, in which we've all been involved, promoting stability and prosperity in the Balkans, fighting terrorism and, of course, seeking the reunification of Cyprus on the basis of democratic values.”
Foreign Minister Bakoyannis: “We had a very fruitful and constructive meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and I thank her for this invitation. The U.S. and Greece enjoy an historic relationship. It is the relationship between the world's most powerful democracy and the world's oldest democracy, the birth place of our shared values and ideals.
In our talks we sought effective ways of enhancing this relationship. We discussed developments in the western Balkans, a region of strategic importance for Greece, where we have a strong political and economic presence. We agreed that the future of the western Balkans lies in Europe, that any solution to the problem of Kosovo may take into account all parts concerned and the stability of the region.
We believe in a united bicommunal Cyprus. As I had the opportunity to stress to my colleague a solution to the Cyprus problem will only be viable if it is based on relevant Security Council resolutions…and the norms of the EU to which Cyprus belongs.
We both support Turkey's European aspirations, but I must say that Turkish European future lies in its own hands on the application of the European norms and practices, both inside Turkey and in their relationships with the neighbors, particularly Greece and Cyprus….
Greece enjoying a 14 centuries-long relationship with the Islamic world is well suited to play a role in the better understanding between the West and Islam.”
* * * *
President Bush’s comments and Secretary Rice’s comments gave hope that finally the U.S. recognizes the full value of Greece to the U.S. for their mutual benefit. Words are important, but need to be followed by action. Secretary Rice can give meaning to her words by positive action on the key issues: Cyprus, the Aegean, FYROM, the Ecumenical Patriarchate and Halki Patriarchal School of Theology and Albania.
The defeat of Mussolini’s army by Greek forces, actually pushing them back into Albania, gave the first taste of victory to the allies against fascism. Greece’s success against Mussolini forced Hitler to change his plans and divert valuable troops, arms and equipment to invade Greece. Hitler’s invasion of Greece delayed his invasion of the Soviet Union by several weeks, from April to June 1941. That delay has been credited by military experts and historians as one of the main factors that prevented Hitler’s defeat of the Soviet Union.
Karl E. Meyer, in a New York Times editorial footnote, stated that Hitler believed that the several weeks it took Germany to subdue Greece was responsible for his losing the war against the Soviet Union. (April 16, 1994, A20, col.1)
In 2001 the American Hellenic Institute Foundation published Greece’s Pivotal Role in World War II and its Importance to the U.S. Today with an introduction by General Andrew J. Goodpaster, USA (Ret.), the former Supreme Commander of NATO. General Goodpaster has characterized Greece’s actions in World War II as a turning point in the war.
But the glory of Greece’s actions in World War II did not end there. During the harsh Nazi occupation, Greek resistance activities forced the Germans to retain a large number of troops in Greece, which otherwise would have been deployed to the Eastern Front and in North Africa, and could have tipped the balance in both of those campaigns. Six hundred thousand Greeks, 9 percent of their population, died from fighting and Nazi Germany’s starvation policy.
In contrast with Greece, Turkey failed to honor its treaty with Britain and France to enter the war, remained neutral and profited from both sides. In fact, Turkey supplied Hitler with chromium, a vital resource to Nazi Germany’s armaments industry and war effort. Albert Speer, Hitler’s armaments chief, wrote in November 1943 that the loss of chromium supplies from Turkey would end the war in about 10 months. See F. Weber, The Evasive Neutral 44 (1979) and A. Speer, Inside the Third Reich 316-17, 405, 550 n. 10, (1970).
While the rest of Europe was rebuilding following World War II, Greece was involved in a civil war from 1946 to 1949 against communist forces supported by Stalin and Tito and supplied by them from the Skopje area of Yugoslavia. Greece’s defeat of the communists, with Greek blood and American military aid provided under the Truman Doctrine (but without American combat troops), was an historic turning point in the post-World War II Cold War period.
Stopping the communist takeover of Greece, including Crete with its Souda Bay naval base, prevented Stalin’s domination of the Aegean Sea and Eastern Mediterranean and the strategic encirclement by the Soviet Union of the Middle East oil resources including the Persian Gulf area. In 1998 the American Hellenic Institute Foundation published The Truman Doctrine—A Fifty-Year Retrospective with the distinguished Academy of Political Science. In that volume General Goodpaster called the Truman Doctrine and Greece’s role a turning point in world history.
Greece is a vigorous and stable democracy with a rapidly modernizing economy that serves as a stimulus for regional growth. It is also the only Balkan country that can boast membership in the EU and its European Monetary Union (EMU) as well as NATO. In combination, these factors make Greece a regional force for political stability and democracy-building and a sensible partner for U.S. strategic interests, economic cooperation and investment. Greece hosted an exceptional 2004 Olympic Games, which enhanced Greece’s visibility worldwide.
The 1999 Kosovo crisis confirmed Greece’s leadership role in the Balkans and its utility as the U.S.’s pivotal partner in the wider region. Greece coordinates the administration of EU aid to the Balkans and is itself a source of developmental capital, private investment, and know-how in the newly emerging Balkan economies.
The 1991 Gulf War and the 2003 Iraq War confirmed that the Souda Bay, Crete naval and airbases in Greece are the most important Eastern Mediterranean bases for the projection of U.S. power. There is clearly nothing remotely comparable in Turkey. In 2005, there were approximately 11,000 visits by U.S. military ships and planes to Souda Bay and its adjacent air base.
The U.S. should establish a “special relationship” with Greece by broadening and deepening its relationship through a coordinated program in the strategic, political, military, commercial and cultural fields. Establishing such a relationship with Greece will allow the U.S. to capitalize on Greece’s unique assets, thereby increasing the prospects for achieving the U.S.’s long-term goals of political stability, economic progress and democracy in Southeastern Europe, the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East.
2. The Cyprus Problem
The U.S. has failed to take advantage of three factors since 2003 which presented the U.S. with opportunities for positive movement on the Cyprus problem.
The first factor was that Operation Iraqi Freedom demonstrated (1) Turkey’s unreliability as a strategic ally when it counted most when Turkey refused on March 1, 2003 to allow up to 62,000 U.S. troops to use bases in Turkey to open a northern front against Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship; (2) that Turkey is of minimal strategic value for U.S. interests in the Middle East, since the defeat of the Saddam Hussein dictatorship without Turkey’s help and the availability of military facilities elsewhere in the region; and (3) that Turkey is an “extortionist” state who tried to get for its cooperation $6 billion more over the $26 billion offered, a veto over U.S. policy on the northern Iraq Kurds and access to northern Iraq oil. (N.Y. Times, Feb. 20, 2003; A1; col. 6.)
Turkey's unreliability as an ally is not new! There is a history of Turkey's actual support of and assistance to the Soviet military during the Cold War to the serious detriment of the U.S. (See Exhibit 2)
On February 16, 2005 The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) carried an editorial page article (A14; col.3) “The Sick Man of Europe—Again” by Mr. Robert L. Pollock, a senior editorial page writer at the WSJ. Finally a mainstream journalist, and a conservative one at that, has given the U.S. public the real picture of Turkey’s virulent anti-American and anti-Semitic attitudes. He tells it as it is. (See Exhibit 2 to AHI’s 2006 Greek American Policy Statements (GAPS) on AHI’s Web site www.ahiworld.org for a copy of Mr. Pollock’s article.)
On March 8, 2005, the noted journalist, Arnaud de Borchgrave, editor at large of The Washington Times and of United Press International, in an article titled “Cold Turkey” (Washington Times, Mar. 8, 2005, A17, col.1) pointed out that “Turkey, an erstwhile ally, nabbed the gold medal recently in the global anti-American stakes” citing a BBC world survey. (See Exhibit 3 to AHI’s 2006 GAPS on AHI’s Web site www.ahiworld.org for a copy of Mr. de Borchgrave’s article.)
On September 27, 2005, Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., in an article in the Washington Times titled “‘No’ to Islamist Turkey” highlighted why Europe should not accept Turkey into the EU. (See Exhibit 4 to AHI’s 2006 GAPS on AHI’s Web site www.ahiworld.org)
On March 14, 2006, Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., in another article on Turkey, this one titled “Islamofascist Coup?” details Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s “creeping Islamofascist coup against the country’s secular institutions and traditions.” (See Exhibit 5 to AHI’s 2006 GAPS on AHI’s Web site www.ahiworld.org)
In February 2006 a new Turkish film “Valley of the Wolves: Iraq,” a virulent anti-American and anti-Semitic film, was released to record breaking audiences in Turkey.
On March 18, 2006 another article on Turkey by Robert L. Pollock was published in the Wall Street Journal titled “After Ataturk: The Weekend Interview with Recep Tayyip Erdogan.” It was based on Mr. Pollock’s interview with Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdogan and, in effect, is just as disturbing as his first article. (See Exhibit 6 to AHI’s 2006 GAPS on AHI’s Web site www.ahiworld.org)
In 2007, the U.S. can still take advantage of these three factors and should do so in the interests of the U.S.
There is no need now, if there ever was, for the U.S. to continue its harmful policy of double standards for and appeasement of Turkey on Turkey's invasion of Cyprus, its occupation of 36.2 percent of Cyprus, its violation of human rights in Turkey and Cyprus , its outlandish claim to one-half of the Aegean Sea and its disdain for the rule of law. The U.S. should alter its harmful “double standards” policy on the rule of law for Turkey and Turkey’s aggression against Cyprus and occupation in Cyprus, now in its 33rd year.
On July 20, 1974, Turkey invaded the Republic of Cyprus with the illegal use of U.S.-supplied arms and equipment in violation of the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended, the UN Charter article 2 (4), the preamble and article 1 of the NATO Treaty and customary international law. Turkey occupied about four percent of Cyprus during the initial phase of its invasion. Turkish pilots flying American planes dropped American-made bombs (including napalm bombs), terrorizing and killing innocent Greek Cypriot civilians in Nicosia, Famagusta, Kyrenia, and elsewhere.
Turkey’s invasion had the support and encouragement of then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger who knew in advance Turkey planned to invade Cyprus and refused to use the U.S. Sixth Fleet or otherwise act to prevent the invasion, as requested by U.S. Ambassador to Greece, Henry Tasca. Kissinger refused to denounce Turkey's aggression, as Britain and most other nations did, and he refused to enforce U.S. laws requiring an immediate halt in U.S. arms to Turkey, though he had the statutory obligation to do so. He also violated his oath of office by failing to do so.
On August 14, 1974, three weeks after the legitimate government of Cyprus was restored, Turkey launched the second phase of its invasion of Cyprus. This was also encouraged by Secretary Kissinger, who the day before had authorized a statement by the State Department's spokesman, Ambassador Robert Anderson, that the Turkish Cypriots needed more protection. He failed to denounce the second phase of Turkey’s aggression and failed to uphold U.S. laws requiring an immediate halt in U.S.- supplied arms.
In the second phase of the aggression, Turkey grabbed another 33 percent of the island, expanding its land grab to nearly 40 percent of Cyprus’s sovereign territory, killed innocent civilians, raped women from the ages of 12-71, forced 170,000 Greek Cypriots from their homes and property and committed massive destruction of property including churches. The European Commission on Human Rights issued a report on July 10, 1976 on the charges made in two applications by the Cyprus government. In the report the Commission found Turkey guilty of violating the following articles of the European Convention on Human Rights:
On January 23, 1977, the London Sunday Times published excerpts of the report (page 1, col.1) 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.”
The Turkish army has continued to occupy this territory ever since. It is an affront to the international legal order and a continuing threat to regional stability.
The invasion and Turkey’s continuing occupation have drawn universal international condemnation, as reflected in UN resolutions, statements by members of Congress and from many nations, and various court decisions in Europe, but not from the Executive Branch of the U.S. government.
Turkey contributes over $350 million annually in direct economic support to the regime in the occupied parts of Cyprus, and it is estimated that the total cost to Turkey of its illegal occupation amounts to one billion dollars annually. To secure its land grab of Cypriot territory, Turkey has illegally settled northern occupied Cyprus with over one hundred forty thousand Turks from Anatolia in violation of the Geneva Convention of 1949, section III, art. 4, which prohibits colonization by an occupying power. These colonists are beholden to their Turkish sponsors whose heavy annual outlays subsidize them. As money is fungible, U.S. economic aid subsidized Turkey's occupation of Cyprus for decades.
There is no legal distinction between Turkey's 1974 invasion of Cyprus and Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. The Cyprus problem is one of invasion and occupation by Turkey. Viewed objectively, Turkey in 1974 committed war crimes in Cyprus in view of the evidence presented to the European Commission of Human Rights and upheld by the Commission in its report referred to above.
Then Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger bears the major responsibility for the Cyprus problem in 1974 because he encouraged and supported Turkeys invasion of Cyprus, violated his oath of office by failing to halt immediately arms to Turkey as required by U.S. law and refused to denounce Turkey's aggression. The U.S. bears a moral responsibility to redress the situation.
Britain also bears a major responsibility for Turkey’s invasion of 1974 and for failing to meet its responsibility as a guarantor power under the Treaty of Guarantee to warn Turkey against invading and to take action to repel the invasion on July 20, 1974, and to have rejected Turkey’s ultimatum on August 13, 1974 during UN negotiations and to have acted on August 14, 1974 to oppose Turkey’s renewed aggression.
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.
President Tassos Papadopoulos’ new initiative with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan praised
Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos initiated a meeting with Secretary-General Kofi Annan on February 28, 2006 aimed at reviving talks to achieve a settlement of the Cyprus problem. In 2005 President Papadopoulos had submitted extensive material to Mr. Annan regarding a renewal of discussions following the overwhelming rejection of the UN Annan Plan by a vote of 76 percent, by the Greek Cypriots on April 24, 2004.
Messrs Annan and Papadopoulos issued a joint statement and held a press conference following their meeting. The UN press release dated February 28, 2006 follows:
U.S. Senator Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) praised President Papadopoulos for his initiative in remarks on the Senate floor on March 9, 2006 which follow:
On March 18, 2006, Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland), at the American Hellenic Institute’s annual awards dinner congratulated President Papadopoulos as follows:
Annan Plan “not a viable solution to the Cyprus problem”
The Annan Plan-5, submitted by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan as the basis for a settlement in 2004, was undemocratic, unworkable, not financially viable and not compatible with American principles, the EU's acquis communautaire, UN resolutions and the European Convention on Human Rights. Congresswoman Illeana Ros-Lehtinen, ranking member of the House International Relations Committee, in a March 12, 2005 letter to President Bush called the Annan Plan “not a viable solution to the Cyprus problem” and further stated: “The Annan Plan in its present form is unsuitable for a successful resolution of the Cyprus problem and needs major modifications to be viable.”
Mrs. Ros-Lehtinen detailed the reasons why the Annan Plan was not a viable solution: “the continuing presence of Turkish troops;” “Turkish Cypriots and mainland Turkish settlers” keeping “Greek Cypriot homes and other property that they seized following the Turkish invasion of Cyprus” and “not have to reimburse the owners of the property;” Annan requires “the Greek Cypriots to be reimbursed by the federal treasury which is funded overwhelmingly by the Greek Cypriots” which means “the Greek Cypriots would be reimbursing themselves.” (See Exhibit 7 to AHI’s 2006 GAPS on AHI’s Web site at ahiworld.org for a detailed analysis of the Annan Plan’s many obvious shortcomings.)
The Congresswoman also referred to “the unwarranted criticism and attacks on the Greek Cypriots for their ‘no’ vote of 76 percent,” and stated that: “The public has been misled by claims that Greek Cypriots were the ones responsible for the ultimate failure of the unification plan.”
In the letter to President Bush, she also stated: “Perhaps it is now time for a new approach to the issue.” She urged the President “to remain engaged in efforts to resolve the conflict in Cyprus, and to continue the search for a just and lasting reunification that will promote peace and stability.”
Dora Bakoyannis, Greece’s Foreign Minister, stated on April 4, 2006 in Cyprus that the UN Annan Plan was “history.” “‘The Annan Plan, as it was submitted for approval by the Cypriot people, was rejected. From the moment it was rejected, it is history,’ Bakoyannis said.” (National Herald, April 8, 2006, page 13; col.1)
Syrian Troops Out of Lebanon—Turkish Troops Out of Cyprus
In March of 2005 President Bush called for the immediate removal of Syrian troops from Lebanon. Last year the U.S. actively supported UN Security Council Resolution 1559 which called for the removal of all non-Lebanese forces from Lebanon, in effect telling Syria to get out of Lebanon.
Getting Syrian troops out of Lebanon is in the best interests of the U.S. Getting Turkish troops out of Cyprus is also in the best interests of the U.S.
The failure to call for the removal of Turkish troops from Cyprus is a striking example of the double standard in Turkey’s favor. It is particularly distressing as the Turkish troops which invaded Cyprus caused substantial loss of lives, 170,000 Greek Cypriot refugees and huge destruction of property. The reasons to call for the removal of Turkish troops from Cyprus are as compelling, and more so, than getting Syrian troops out of Lebanon.
Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, in a speech in Washington on March 5, 2005 at the American Hellenic Institute’s annual dinner, called for an end to “the continuing presence of Turkish troops on the island. They’ve got to go,” she said.
Removal from Cyprus of Turkey’s 140,000 illegal colonists/settlers
President Bush should also call for the immediate withdrawal of Turkey’s 140,000 illegal colonists/settlers in Cyprus in violation of the Geneva Convention of 1949.
Tear down Turkey’s barbed wire fence across the face of Cyprus
The removal of Turkey’s troops, colonists and barbed wire fence would end the Turkish Cypriot’s economic isolation caused by Turkey and go a long way to solving the Cyprus problem because the Greek and Turkish Cypriots could then work out a fair and effective agreement.
Why hasn’t President Bush called for the removal of Turkey’s illegal troops and colonists from Cyprus and the tearing down of Turkey’s Green Line barbed wire fence (as President Reagan called for the Soviets to tear down the Berlin Wall)? The answer is that he has followed the failed State Department policy of a double standard on the application of the rule of law to Turkey. That policy started in 1974, when Turkey invaded Cyprus with the illegal use of U.S. arms, and has continued to the present time.
The person who led the effort in promoting the double standard this past decade is former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Marc Grossman. Mr. Grossman retired on February 25, 2005 and has been succeeded by Nicholas Burns, former State Department spokesperson, U.S. Ambassador to Greece and U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO. Hopefully Mr. Burns will initiate a review of the U.S.-Turkey policy, a review which is long overdue. To date Mr. Burns has not done so.
Instead of calling for the removal of (1) Turkish invasion and occupation troops from Cyprus, (2) the illegal colonists and (3) the Turkish barbed wired fence across the face of Cyprus, the State Department says they are part of the negotiations, which means, in effect, the State Department’s support for Turkish aggression.
The State Department’s “double speak” on Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus in 1974 compared to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990 is right out of George Orwell’s 1984.
A review of U.S. policy towards Turkey should begin with the Eisenhower Doctrine: “There can be no peace without law. And there can be no law if we were to invoke one code of international conduct for those who oppose us and another for our friends.” Eisenhower applied that doctrine to halt and reverse aggression by Britain, France and Israel against Egypt in the October 1956 Suez crisis.
A top UN official informed Syria that the UN would consider “wide punitive sanctions” if Syria did not comply with UN SC Res. 1559 to get out of Lebanon. The U.S. should also consider such sanctions against Turkey if Turkey does not get out of Cyprus now.
To achieve a Cyprus settlement, the U.S. should apply forceful economic, political, and diplomatic pressure on Turkey, including sanctions and the withdrawal of trade benefits if necessary, to get Turkey to remove its 40,000 armed forces and its 140,000 illegal settlers/colonists from Cyprus, and to tear down the Turkish barbed wire fence across the face of Cyprus which are the causes of the Turkish Cypriots isolation.
The limited opening of the Green Line in Nicosia in April 2003 resulted in thousands of peaceful daily crossings by Turkish and Greek Cypriots and has demonstrated beyond a doubt that Greek and Turkish Cypriots can live and work together peacefully as they did before. It destroyed the propaganda of Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktash and Turkey that they could not live together and needed to be separated.
NATO’s toleration of Turkey’s aggression against Cyprus in violation of the NATO Treaty and the UN Charter is evidence of a double standard and a stain on NATO’s record and honor. NATO should call for the immediate removal of Turkey’s illegal occupation forces and settlers from Cyprus and the demilitarization of Cyprus. If Turkey refuses to cooperate, NATO should consider appropriate action to bring Turkey into compliance. We call on the U.S. to encourage NATO members to apply pressure on Turkey to abide by the clear requirements of the NATO Treaty, to desist from aggression against other states and to reform the constitution of Turkey to reflect Western standards of civilian democracy.
The U.S. should make the search for a just solution to the Cyprus problem a foreign policy priority and should expand its economic, political, diplomatic, and security relations with Cyprus. Reunification of the island on just and viable terms is an important goal. It will benefit all parties concerned and will advance U.S. interests in regional stability and adherence to the rule of law. To promote these interests, the U.S. should more forcefully exert its influence with Turkey, including the Turkish military.
The Greek Cypriots worked hard to recover from the devastation of the Turkish invasion and adhered in all their efforts to the rule of law. They achieved an economic miracle. Yet when the Greek Cypriots overwhelmingly voted no by 76 percent to the flawed Annan Plan, the State Department, led by then Under Secretary Marc Grossman, attacked them for exercising their democratic right to vote and personally attacked Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos.
The Cyprus problem is the central issue of U.S.-Cyprus relations, but it is not the only component of the relationship. Cyprus is within the U.S. strategic perimeter in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East. Cyprus is a strategic key for U.S. interests in the region. It is a stationary aircraft carrier in the region and its mountains provide areas for the most effective listening and transmitting devices in the region. We suggest that the Administration increase efforts to deepen its relations with Cyprus by ensuring regular visits to Cyprus by senior officials whose responsibilities are not directly related to the solution of the Cyprus problem.
3. Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
The State Department stated that this decision was made with the purpose of providing “stability” in “Macedonia,” regarding the November 7, 2004 referendum in FYROM on the law giving the ethnic Albanian minority greater local autonomy. We disagree strongly with State’s position. On the contrary, recognition does not help to facilitate stability in the region.
Consideration needed to be given to the sensitivities by this decision and how it would potentially impact all of FYROM’s neighbors, especially Greece.
Yet, State Department Spokesman, Richard Boucher, during his press briefing on November 5, 2004 stated that he wasn’t aware of any consultations by the U.S. with FYROM’s neighbors prior to recognition.
If the United States is interested in promoting peace, democracy, stability and economic progress in the Balkans, our main ally in the region in promoting these goals is and has been Greece.
In announcing the recognition of FYROM as Macedonia, the State Department is thumbing its nose at Greece and the Greek American community. By it’s actions, the Administration is in effect disregarding the approximately 1,500,000 Americans of Hellenic descent as a non-entity in the formulation of U.S. policy since we are not consulted on decisions that impact Greece.
This action sends the wrong message to Greece that could be construed as dismissive of her sensitivities and concerns in the region.
Further, regarding Mr. Boucher’s comments, he attempts to justify that since the name “Macedonia” is the name “that the government and the people of Macedonia have chosen for their country, and that’s the name we will recognize them under.”
This premise is false. There is no unqualified universally accepted rule of international law that authorizes a state to name itself anything it wants. There are two examples in the 20th century. Following WWI, Austria wanted to be known as “The German Republic of Austria.” The victorious allies objected to the designation “German” and Austria has been known since as the Austrian Republic or plain Austria.
In the second instance, Great Britain was denied the right to be admitted to the European Union with the name Great Britain. France objected that this name could imply that the French province of Brittany belonged to Great Britain. The objection was accepted by the then European Union partners and Great Britain was admitted to the EU as United Kingdom.
The Macedonia issue stems from the 1991 secessionist Skopje regime’s naming itself in the most provocative way possible as the so called “Republic of Macedonia” and requesting worldwide recognition.
It is not proper for a country, which is part of a region to define itself in an official manner as representing the whole region. Macedonia, like the Americas, Europe, Scandinavia, and the Balkans, is a region. Just as no country in North and South America would call itself the “American Republic,” and no European country would call itself the “Republic of Europe,” FYROM in naming itself cannot assume the mantle of Macedonia.
Greece and FYROM had increased their dialogue recently on strengthening bilateral relations, including the name, and this unexpected and sharp shift in U.S. policy is counter-productive. For our Government to be a party to this only serves to create instability in a volatile area of the Balkans and thus threatens our interests there.
We find incomprehensible the advice from the State Department and the National Security Council to President Bush, which, in effect, equated the FYROM, a nation of only 14 years, of little, if any, strategic, economic or political value to the United States, with Greece, a long-time important strategic, political and economic ally of the United States, who fought as allies with the U.S. in 4 wars in the 20th century, whose defeat of Mussolini’s forces in 1940 was a turning point in World War II, who gave the communists their first defeat by arms (1946-49), who is an important partner in the war on terrorism, and who is the strategic key for the United States in the Balkans and the Eastern Mediterranean.
4. Turkey’s Suppression of the Religious Freedom of the Ecumenical Patriarchate
Turkey’s restrictions on the religious freedom of the Ecumenical Patriarchate reveal that democratic norms have still not taken root. In view of Turkey’s horrendous human rights record, U.S. policy toward Turkey should be driven by forceful incentives for democratic reform. These include an arms embargo, economic sanctions and the withdrawal of trade and other benefits.
We commend the Bush administration for its support of the universality of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
We condemn Turkey’s toleration of assaults against its Greek Orthodox Christian minority, its continuing illegal closure of the Greek Orthodox Halki Patriarchal School of Theology in Istanbul and its illegal seizure of Greek Orthodox Church property. We call on the U.S. to press Turkey to enforce strictly the guarantees of religious freedom set forth in the Treaty of Lausanne, the UN Charter, and other international agreements.
In accordance with U.S. law expressed in Section 2804 of the Omnibus Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act of 1998 (PL 105-277), initiated by AHI and introduced by Congressman Mike Bilirakis, we urge the U.S. government to use its influence with the Turkish government to safeguard the Ecumenical Patriarchate, its personnel, and its property, and to reopen the Halki Patriarchal School of Theology. The language of Section 2804 states:
Turkey has a notoriously dismal human rights record, which is well documented in numerous credible reports. Of special interest is the November 1999 report “Arming Repression: U.S. Arms Sales to Turkey During the Clinton Administration,” produced jointly by the World Policy Institute and the Federation of American Scientists. Other reports by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and successive State Department Country Reports on Turkey have stated that “extrajudicial killings, including deaths in detention from excessive use of force, ‘mystery killings,’ and disappearances continued. Torture remained widespread.” Thousands of political prisoners cram Turkish jails. Dozens of journalists have been assassinated, and many others are in jail.
Presidential actions under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (22 USCA § 6441, 6445)
The following are 9 or the 15 enumerated actions under 22 USCA § 6445:
Given the obvious and egregious violations of religious freedom by the Turkish government, the President is obligated to invoke the foregoing provisions of the Act against Turkey and should do so promptly. Congress should call on the President to carry out his oath of office by enforcing this law.
5. Critical Review of U.S. Policy Toward Turkey Needed
Turkey’s “No” vote on March 1, 2003; “extortion in the name of alliance”
Dramatically changed circumstances since the end of the Cold War and Turkey’s refusal on March 1, 2003 to allow U.S. troops to use bases in Turkey to open a northern front against Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship when it counted most, its “extortion in the name of alliance” negotiating tactics to get $6 billion more for its cooperation over the $26 billion offered (NY Times, Feb. 20, 2003; A1; col. 6) and its virulent anti-American and anti-Semitic attitudes, warrant a wholesale review of the U.S. policy toward Turkey. It should also be noted that earlier, during the Cold War, Turkey actively aided the Soviet military to the serious detriment of the U.S. (See Exhibit 1.)
The Turkish military and the Erdogan government were key players in the “no” vote which put U.S. forces at risk. They thought we needed Turkey and that we would give Turkey more dollars, a veto on policy regarding the Iraqi Kurds and access to Iraqi oil. They miscalculated the U.S. reaction.
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, on March 20, 2005, the second anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, in two TV appearances, blamed Turkey’s refusal to permit the U.S. Fourth Infantry Division to use its territory to open a northern front against Iraq with preventing the capture or killing of future insurgents hardest and reducing their number. If that had happened, he said “the insurgency today would be less.” It follows that if that had happened fewer American soldiers would have been killed by the insurgents.
Among U.S. policymakers, decades of Cold War reliance on Turkish military and political cooperation (together with an effective Turkish public relations initiative) gave rise to the largely unchallenged perception that Turkey was an indispensable military and political ally in the Eastern Mediterranean. Accordingly, when colliding Greek and Turkish interests required U.S. intervention, the U.S. usually accommodated Turkey, while publicly denying any policy “tilt” in Turkey’s favor. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Islamic fundamentalism took the place of Soviet communism as the region’s major geopolitical threat, reinforcing among U.S. policymakers the perceived value of a cooperative Turkey. More recently, global terrorism directed at the U.S. has continued the perception that Turkey’s goodwill must be preserved.
The views of Turkey's alleged importance have been propagated to the detriment of U.S. interests by a handful of U.S. officials, think tank advocates and Turkey's paid U.S. foreign agents registered with the Department of Justice. Leading the pack have been former Defense Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, Defense Under Secretary for Policy Douglas Feith, former Defense Advisory Board Chairman Richard Perle, former State Under Secretary for Political Affairs Marc Grossman, and U.S. registered foreign agents for Turkey, former Congressmen Bob Livingston (R- LA) and Stephen Solarz (D-NY) who are paid $1.8 million annually by Turkey. Mr. Feith, an assistant to Mr. Perle at the Defense Department in the 1980’s, is a former paid agent of Turkey who headed International Advisors Inc. (IAI) from 1989-1994 and received $60,000 annually. IAI was registered with the U.S. Department of Justice as a foreign agent for Turkey. Mr. Perle, who initiated IAI and its contract with Turkey, is a former paid consultant for Turkey in his capacity as a paid consultant to IAI at $48,000 annually from 1989-1994.
The U.S.’s successful prosecution of the war against Iraq without access from Turkey proved Turkey’s marginality as a strategic military resource in the region. Over the years, other actions have raised considerable doubt over Turkey's reliability as a strategic ally. Today, the U.S. has access to alternative military facilities in the region including countries in the Middle East, Central Asia, Afghanistan and in Iraq itself.
Former Defense Secretary Rumsfeld stated on April 18, 2003 that the Incirlik Air Base in southeast Turkey is no longer needed to patrol the northern Iraq "no-fly zone" and that the U.S. has withdrawn nearly all the 50 attack and support planes from Incirlik (N.Y. Times, 4-29-03, A11, col. 6). Incirlik should be closed and U.S. taxpayer money saved.
The military’s notorious influence over the Turkish government, traditionally tolerated by U.S. policymakers for perceived strategic reasons, is increasingly being recognized as an impediment to Turkey’s successful democratization, its EU aspirations, and the reform of its economy. The transformation of Turkey into a politically stable, fully democratic, and economically sound nation, whether or not she accedes into the EU, is in the interests not only of the people of Turkey, but also of Turkey’s neighbors (especially Greece and Cyprus) and of the U.S. It is by no means certain, however, that Turkey will complete this desirable process quickly, or at all.
“Turkey’s Dream of Democracy,” Eric Rouleau, Foreign Affairs, Nov./Dec. 2000
Expressing considerable doubt, France’s former ambassador to Turkey, Eric Rouleau, concludes that one of the great challenges facing Turkish reformers is “to convince the Turkish military to relinquish its hold on the jugular of the modern Turkish state.” (Eric Rouleau, “Turkey’s Dream of Democracy,” Foreign Affairs, Nov./Dec. 2000, pp 100-114, at 102.) He refers to Turkey’s National Security Council, established by Article 118 of the Turkish constitution, as “a kind of shadow government through which the [military] can impose their will on parliament and the government” (page 105). He describes “Mercantile Militarism” under which the Turkish military draws up its own budget, controls substantial industries through OYAK, “a vast conglomerate comprising some 30 enterprises,” and an arms production company, TSKGV, which also “comprises some 30 companies and generates tens of thousands of jobs. More than 80 percent of its revenues go into a reserve fund estimated to reach tens of billions of dollars” (pages 109-110). OYAK and TSKGV, he reports, are very profitable and for a good reason—they are exempt from duties and taxes (page 109).
Turkey and the EU
To achieve EU accession, Turkey, like all other candidate states, must meet the Copenhagen criteria, the EU acquis communautaire, and the specific criteria set by the EU if accession talks beginning on October 3, 2005 are to proceed. This also includes a settlement of the Cyprus problem and recognition of the Republic of Cyprus and the obligation of Turkey to treat Cyprus as Turkey treats other members of the EU, i.e. Cypriot flagged ships to use Turkish ports and Cyprus Airways to use Turkish airports and air corridors, in accordance with The Ankara Protocol signed by Turkey as a condition for the start of EU accession negotiations on October 3, 2005.
Further, EU accession conditions in the interest of the U.S. must include Turkey’s recognition of the maritime boundary in the Aegean set forth in the relevant treaties, full religious freedom for the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the reopening of the Halki Patriarchal School of Theology and restoration of the church properties taken by the Turkish government.
Achieving the goals of genuine democratic freedoms, political stability and economic progress, whether through EU accession negotiations or otherwise, will require fundamental changes in Turkey’s governmental institutions. The U.S. should be pressing for fundamental changes now.
Such changes include reducing the military’s traditionally pervasive role in all aspects of national life and placing it under civilian control. Turkey must also reverse its historic intransigence to a reasonable and just solution to the Cyprus problem, must conform to longstanding international agreements concerning Aegean Sea boundaries, and must significantly improve its human rights record, particularly regarding its 20 percent Kurdish minority.
The U.S. supports Turkey's territorial integrity but should also adopt in its own best interests a policy of political, cultural and human rights and local autonomy for the Kurds in Turkey.
We will continue to urge the Executive Branch and Congress to engage in a critical review of U.S. policy towards Turkey and to acknowledge that the foregoing changes are desirable U.S. policy goals.
Turkey’s Human Rights Violations Against Its Kurdish Minority
The suppression of human rights by the government of Turkey has been particularly brutal against Turkey’s twenty percent Kurdish minority and amounts to ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity and genocide. The Kurds have a unique language and traditions. Mostly Sunni Muslims and numbering 15 plus million in Turkey today, they have been settled for more than two millennia in a broad arc spanning southeastern Turkey, northwestern Iran (7 million), and northeastern Iraq (4 million). They have traditionally resisted subjugation, but history has consistently denied them a national homeland. They are therefore political and ethnic minorities wherever they live, the easy target of majorities casting about for targets to attack and divert attention from domestic issues. In Turkey, the abuses against Kurds by the government have been chronic and genocidal.
In the past two decades, the Turkish military and mercenary groups have killed, either by direct military intervention or assassination, tens of thousands of Kurds, over ninety percent of whom have been innocent civilians. It is also well-documented that since 1984, the Turkish military’s genocidal policy has destroyed over 3,000 Kurdish villages (some in northern Iraq outside of Turkish territory), creating over 3 million Kurdish refugees. France’s former ambassador to Turkey, Eric Rouleau, detailed Turkey’s massive killing of Kurds between 1984 and 1999:
In view of Turkey’s horrendous human rights record, U.S. policy toward Turkey should be driven by forceful incentives for democratic reform. These include an arms embargo and economic sanctions.
Turkey’s Armenian Genocide
We strongly support the Armenian American community's efforts to secure full recognition, proper commemoration, and a just resolution of the Armenian Genocide. We strongly support H.Res. 106 on the Armenian Genocide introduced in the 110th Congress, 1st Session, on January 30, 2007.
In 2007, the 92nd anniversary of the Genocide, the Administration should, for the sake of U.S. interests and American values, finally bring an end to all forms of U.S. complicity in Turkey's denial of this crime against all humanity. The President, in his annual April 24th remarks, should properly recognize the Armenian Genocide as a clear instance of genocide, as defined by the United Nations Genocide Convention. In addition, the Administration should refrain from taking punitive actions against diplomats, such as U.S. Ambassador to Armenia John Evans, who have spoken truthfully about the Armenian Genocide.
The U.S. Congress should adopt legislation both recognizing the Armenian Genocide and urging the American people to apply the lessons of this tragedy to the cause of preventing future genocides.
Finally, Turkey must be pressured to acknowledge its genocidal crime against the Armenian nation, to come to terms with this chapter in its history, and, consistent with the Genocide Convention and other relevant international legal instruments, to make full reparations to the Armenian people.
We also support efforts to press Turkey to lift its illegal blockade of Armenia and to end the mistreatment of the Armenian population in Turkey.
We refer readers to Professor Peter Balakian's recent book The Burning Tigris, a remarkable history of the Armenian Genocide by the Young Turk government in Turkey. Professor Balakian includes the details of the humanitarian movement of leading American public citizens and ordinary citizens to save the Armenians.
Turkey’s Greek Pontian Genocide
We support the Pontian Greek American community’s efforts to secure full recognition and proper commemoration of, and an apology for the Greek Pontian Genocide of 1915-23.
On May 19, 2006, the Pontic communities around the world commemorate the 92nd anniversary of the Genocide of the Pontic Greeks. Their outright slaughter and expulsion by long death marches to exile between 1914-23, was first ordered by the Young Turk regime and then completed by Mustafa Kemal, later known as Atatürk. These genocidal policies caused the death of 353,000 Pontic Greeks, more than half their population, and brought a tragic and catastrophic end to their three-thousand year presence on the southern shores and mountains of the Black Sea region of Asia Minor, today’s Turkey.
We call on the President to address this tragedy by properly recognizing the Pontian Genocide as a clear instance of genocide, as defined by the United Nations Genocide Convention. We ask the administration to end its silence on Turkey’s denial of this crime of genocide.
The U.S. Congress should adopt legislation recognizing the Pontian Genocide as part of the genocides against the Armenians, Assyrians and the other Greeks of Asia Minor genocides which took the lives of over 2 million of Turkey’s Christian population.
Finally, Turkey must be pressured to acknowledge its genocidal crime against these historic Christians, to come to terms with this chapter in its history and, consistent with the Genocide Convention and other relevant international legal instruments, to make full reparations to the Pontic people.
We refer readers to Thea Halo’s book Not Even My Name, a remarkable memoir of her Pontic Greek mother’s life, which recounts her ancient way of life in the Pontic mountains, her 10-month long death march to exile at the age of 10, ordered by Mustafa Kemal, which took the lives of her family and neighbors, and left her bereft, even of her name. Sano’s story continues with her life in America. Thea Halo includes in this extraordinary memoir an historical synopsis of the politics and intrigues of the great powers of the time.
No Economic or Military Aid or Arms Sales to Turkey, Economic Sanctions and Withdrawal of Benefits
The U.S., in its own best interests, should not give any further economic or military aid to Turkey until Turkey ends its occupation of Cyprus, now in its 33rd year and removes its 40,000 Turkish armed forces illegally in Cyprus and 120,000 illegal settlers/colonists from Turkey; halts its suppression of the religious freedom and its persecution of the Eastern Orthodox Christian Ecumenical Patriarchate; halts its actions suppressing the ethnic Kurdish minority in southeastern Turkey; halts its illegal incursions in northern Iraq; and recognize the Armenian Genocide.
The U.S. should stop further sales or transfers of arms and military technology to Turkey and should continue an arms embargo until Turkey supports a democratic, workable, financially viable and just solution to the Cyprus problem and demonstrates significant improvement in its human rights and religious freedom record.
Ceasing U.S. arms supplies will contribute to a more rational allocation of Turkey’s resources, thereby bringing about badly needed economic reform. Halting further arms sales or transfers will also eliminate a stimulus for the regional arms race. The U.S. should also urge the termination of the Turkey-Israel military cooperation understanding because of its adverse influence on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and road map.
Since the 1980's Turkeys brutal suppression of its Kurdish minority has been accomplished with U.S.- supplied arms as documented in reports by the State Department, the World Policy Institute, the Federation of American Scientists, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. The grant and sale by the U.S. of arms to Turkey these past decades has made the U.S. an accessory to Turkey's horrific human rights record against its Kurdish minority.
Similarly, Turkey's illegal use of U.S.- supplied arms in its invasion and continuing occupation of Cyprus, and the U.S.'s failure to immediately halt arms to Turkey as required by U.S. law, and the failure to denounce Turkey’s aggression, as most nations did, made the U.S. an accessory to Turkey's invasion of and occupation in Cyprus.
Despite the end of the Cold War, Turkey has a military inventory far beyond its legitimate defense needs. Who is threatening Turkey? Each year Turkey spends a disproportionately large amount of its resources on its military. This not only reflects the military’s deeply entrenched influence over Turkish society, but also drains away resources better spent on economic reform. The result over the years necessitated periodic requests for emergency assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the U.S. taxpayer. The IMF and World Bank should insist on Turkey getting out of Cyprus now as a financial factor and make it a condition of any further assistance.
Additional Reasons Not to Give Economic or Military Aid to Turkey and to Apply Sanctions and to Withdraw Trade and Other Benefits from Turkey
Turkey in Violation of U.S. Law and its Agreement by Transfer of U.S.-originTanks to Cyprus
Turkey is presently in violation of U.S. law by its transfer in 2005 from Turkey to the occupied area in Cyprus of 12 U.S.–supplied M-48 tanks and other arms. The State Department spokesperson, Adam Ereli, erroneously stated at the time that the transfer is not in violation of U.S. law because the tanks transferred to Cyprus are under the control of the Turkish military. The State Department official who advised Mr. Ereli on the answer was in error. Since December 22, 1987, 22 U.S.C. § 2373 absolutely prohibits the transfer of U.S. supplied arms by Turkey to the occupied area in Cyprus without regard to whether the arms remain in the control of the Turkish military.
Turkey—a major drug trafficking nation
A number of other examples of actions by Turkey that are harmful to U.S. interests could be listed. One of the most serious is Turkey's breaching its understanding with the U.S. by lifting the ban on opium cultivation in 1974 and tolerating the use of its territory for major drug trafficking to the present time.
For all the above reasons, we believe that a critical review of U.S.-Turkey relations is long overdue by the Executive Branch and Congress. We urge the Bush Administration to conduct this review so that it can engage Turkey more effectively on the Cyprus and human rights issues and on Turkey’s indefensible Aegean Sea territorial claims.
A critical review of U.S.-Turkey relations should include:
Hopefully the State Department, with Secretary Condoleezza Rice and its career leadership in Under Secretary for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns, will initiate a critical review of U.S.-Turkey policy, a review which is long overdue.
Senator Bob Dole’s call for demilitarization of Cyprus
Senator Bob Dole proposed demilitarization of Cyprus during the Senate debate on July 25, 1978, on the amendment, which passed, to remove the remaining arms embargo on Turkey. Dole voted against lifting the embargo and noted that “[n]egotiations between the two communities have remained stalemated over the presence of the Turkish occupation force.” He stated: “The great need for demilitarization of Cyprus, involving withdrawal of both Greek and Turkish forces, must be stressed….Once demilitarization of Cyprus is achieved, then the intercommunal talks between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities over the territorial and political settlement will proceed much more smoothly. This must be the goal of all parties: to achieve demilitarization of Cyprus as soon as possible….The President should also encourage the strengthening of the UN security force on the island to assist the demilitarization and provide the protection necessary throughout this process…. We do not seek to dilute the role of the United Nations in bringing peace to Cyprus—we seek to strengthen it. That role would be much more difficult…if we were to resume arms sales and shipments to Turkey before her tens of thousands of forces are removed from the island. By upholding the rule of law we encourage its application and effectiveness in the future.” 124 CONG. REC. 22533-5 (1978).
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:
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The 2007 Greek American Policy Statements