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AHI Urges President Clinton to Take Advantage of the New Climate of Friendship Between Greece and Turkey
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: JONATHAN CLARKE
September 20, 1999 No. 33/99 (202) 785-8430

AHI Urges President Clinton to Take Advantage of the New Climate of Friendship Between Greece and Turkey

On September 17, 1999 the American Hellenic Institute sent to a letter to President Clinton (copy attached) drawing his attention to the new climate of friendship between Greece and Turkey brought about by the tragic Greek and Turkish earthquakes. This new climate, which AHI welcomes, presents an opportunity to make progress on regional problems if, in his meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit on September 28, 1999, Mr. Clinton counsels Mr. Ecevit to respond favorably to the new set of circumstances. Pointing out that on many of the open regional issues--the Aegean, Cyprus, the Ecumenical Patriarchate--progress is being frustrated directly by Turkey, the letter expresses the hope that the tragedy of the Turkish earthquakes has brought home to Turkey the advantages in reaching speedy resolutions of these issues.

For this to happen, the United States will have to make clear to the Turkish government, and especially to the Turkish military, which has the final say on all major decisions, that the U.S. will draw adverse conclusions from any continued refusal by Turkey to negotiate constructively. This is particularly necessary over Cyprus where Turkey is allowing Mr. Denktash to frustrate the G8 and UN Security Council's initiative. Turkey needs to call Mr. Denktash to order.