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Armenian, Kurdish And Greek American Organizations Jointly Oppose Jewish American Organizations' Letter To President Bush Urging Additional Support For Turkey
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: CHRYSOULA ECONOMOPOULOS
February 22, 2002 No. 8/02 (202) 785-8430

Armenian, Kurdish And Greek American Organizations Jointly Oppose Jewish American Organizations' Letter To President Bush Urging Additional Support For Turkey

The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), the American Kurdish Information Network (AKIN), the Hellenic American National Council (HANC), the Hellenic American Women's Council (HAWC), and the American Hellenic Institute (AHI) sent a joint letter to President Bush on February 20, 2002 in opposition to the joint letter of December 18, 2001 to President Bush from several Jewish American organizations. The letter was sent to respond to serious errors of fact and omission present in the letter which misrepresent Turkey's relationship with the U.S. and with its own citizens. The letter also fails to mention Turkey's genocides and ongoing human rights abuses.

Included in the letter to President Bush was a copy of the detailed joint letter of February 15, 2002 from ANC, AKIN, HANC, HAWC and AHI to the Jewish American organizations.

The joint letter to President Bush (February 20, 2002) and the joint letter to the Jewish American organizations (February 15, 2002) expressed the concerns of the joint signatories with the following errors of fact and omission in the Jewish American organizations' letter of December 18, 2001:

  1. Contrary to the specific assertion that Turkey has supported the United States "in every major international crisis of the past fifty years," the record shows that during the Cold War Turkey ignored U.S. interests and actively and deliberately gave substantial assistance to the Soviet military.
  2. It is folly to continue subsidizing Turkey's failed economic policies. Urging consideration of additional U.S. economic assistance to Turkey in the form "of debt forgiveness, trade concessions, and/or further International Monetary Fund relief" is not in the best interests of the U.S. and fails to address the key factor in Turkey's current economic crisis, namely the Turkish military's control over the civilian government.
  3. Their letter omits to mention Turkey's "international terrorism" against Cyprus by its aggression against Cyprus in 1974, its continued illegal occupation of Cypriot territory and its human rights violations in Cyprus.
  4. Their letter omits any reference to Turkey's horrendous human rights record in the twentieth century during which millions of innocent men, women and children lost their lives at the hands of successive Turkish governments. Even today, Turkey stands among the worst human rights violators.
  5. Their letter omits to mention Turkey's illegal economic blockade of Armenia which prevents U.S humanitarian and pharmaceutical aid to Armenia.
  6. Their letter omits to mention that Turkey is a major drug trafficking country today, and that in the fall of 1973, Turkey unilaterally lifted the ban on illegal poppy cultivation after receiving $35 million a few years earlier from the U.S. to ban it.

The Armenian, Kurdish and Greek American organizations offered to meet with the Jewish American organizations to discuss this matter further and to develop an ongoing dialogue.

Copies of the letters of February 20, 2002, February 15, 2002 are attached. A copy of the December 18, 2001 letter is below. See also our Web site at http://www.ahiworld.org. For additional information, please contact Chrysoula Economopoulos at (202) 785-8430 or at [email protected].


December 18, 2001

The Honorable George W. Bush
President, The United States of America
The White House
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

As Jewish organizations representing the strong consensus of local Jewish communities and national leadership across the United States, we are writing to reiterate our support for the Republic of Turkey and its people.

Once again, Turkey - a secular nation with an overwhelmingly Muslim majority - stands resolutely in solidarity with the United States in a common defense of freedom.  As in every major international crisis of the past fifty years, Turkey has made a principled decision in support of American interests - acknowledging that our two nations do indeed share a strategic partnership.

After the United States was attacked on September 11, 2001, Turkey was one of the strongest and most immediate advocates for invoking Article V of the NATO Treaty.  Additionally, Turkey's extensive relationship with Israel on social, economic, and military issues has wavered not one bit.

Still, this critical ally is in need of additional economic assistance.  As scholar Bulent Aliriza of the Center for Strategic and International Studies pointed out recently, "Turkish policymakers and citizens continue to be preoccupied by the daily effects of the country's continuing economic crisis, which has devastated the industrial sector, lowered living standards, raised unemployment, and jeopardized Turkey's international financial solvency."  It cannot be stressed enough that Turkey's economic crisis has only been exacerbated since September 11, with the nation's tourism industry having become the latest casualty.

Accordingly, we urge your consideration of additional American support to Turkey.  Whether such assistance consisted of debt forgiveness, trade concessions, and/or further International Monetary Fund relief, we believe such consideration is timely and appropriate.

Thank you for your kind attention and for your outstanding leadership in the war against terrorism.

Sincerely,

American Jewish Committee,
American Jewish Congress,
Anti-Defamation League,
B'nai B'rith International,
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations,
Hadassah--The Women's Zionist Organization of America,
Jewish Council for Public Affairs,
Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs,
Orthodox Union