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American Hellenic Institute Releases 1999 Greek American Policy Statements

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: JONATHAN CLARKE
March 1, 1999 No. 04/99 (202) 785-8430

American Hellenic Institute Releases 1999 Greek American Policy Statements

The American Hellenic Institute (AHI) today released the 1998 Greek American Policy Statements prepared by AHI and reviewed and approved by the Order of AHEPA, the Hellenic American National Council (HANC) the Hellenic American Women's Council (HAWC), and the Cyprus Federation of America, the key membership organizations in the community. The Policy Statements cover the following issues:
• Aegean
• Cyprus
• Greece
• Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Halki Patriarchal School of Theology
• Turkey
• Arms sales and transfers to Turkey
• Other issues including: Albania, Armenia, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Kurds, and NATO.

The Policy Statements highlight the strategic importance of the Southeast European and Eastern Mediterranean region to the United States. They call upon the U.S. administration to adopt a realistic policy based upon a close relationship with the Greece and Cyprus. Both these countries are vigorous, stable democracies. They are a source of regional political leadership that offers the opportunity to make a decisive advance for U.S. national interests in the region.

The Policy Statements contrast the negative role played by Turkey, which is the prime cause of many of the region's problems. This is in large part because of the disproportionate and anti-democratic influence of the Turkish military over Turkish governance as set forth in the Turkish constitution. Turkey has continued and extended its illegal territorial claims against sovereign Greek territory, prompted new and unacceptable conditions for negotiations about Cyprus, continued its harassment of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and further stained its already notorious human rights record against pro-democratic forces and ethnic and religious minorities inside Turkey.

The Policy Statements set out a legislative agenda for the 106th Congress, including call for a critical review of U.S. policy toward Turkey.