|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
||CONTACT: JONATHAN CLARKE
|June 2, 1999
||No. 22/99 (202) 785-8430
AHI Letter to State Department re. Milosevic and Ecevit Cites Evidence of Turkish War Crimes
On June 2, 1999 the American Hellenic Institute sent a letter to Ambassador David Scheffer, the State Department's Ambassador at Large for War Crimes Issues. The letter cites the precedent set by the indictment of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic as a war criminal and sets out the case for indicting the Turkish political and military leadership led by current Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit for their crimes against Cyprus and the Kurds. A copy is attached.
The war crimes charges against the Turkish leadership are:
- Deportations: Ecevit initiated the illegal 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus with the illegal use of U.S.-supplied arms during which some 200,000 Greek Cypriots were forced from their homes by the invading Turkish armed forces;
- Murder: in the Turkish invasion over 4,000 Greek Cypriots were murdered, including 5 Americans who had been kidnapped by the Turkish forces;
- Persecutions: Ecevit now presides over the continuing Turkish occupation of 37.3 percent of Cyprus. In the course of this occupation, the few Greek Cypriots who were not ethnically cleansed from the areas under illegal Turkish occupation have been subject to persistent persecution on political, racial and religious grounds. Cypriot religious and cultural sites have been devastated.
- Deportations: during Turkey's 15-year war against the Kurds over 2.5 million Kurds have been forced from their homes and 2,600-3,000 villages have been torched or razed in the Turkish military's scorched earth policy.
- Murder: during this same period some 30,000 innocent Kurds have been killed by the Turkish army;
- Persecutions: during Turkey's war against the Kurds, extrajudicial killings, torture, and deprivation of elementary civil and human rights have been routine. (Turkey's actions on all these headings are documented in the State Department's own 1998 Human Rights Country Report on Turkey and other reports by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch).
AHI General Counsel Eugene T Rossides stated: "The 'command responsibility' case against Ecevit is overwhelming. Other senior military and political officials are also culpable--the various chiefs of the Turkish General Staff, the commander of the Turkish forces at the time of the Cyprus invasion, and all command officials with responsibility for Turkey's ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity and genocide against the Kurds. I trust that the United States will exploit the precedent provided by the ICTY to institute proceedings to indict Ecevit and other Turkish officials in the International Criminal Court."