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Joint Letter to President Bush Protests Proposed Aid to Turkey In Exchange for Turkey's Military Cooperation Regarding Iraq
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: CHRYSOULA ECONOMOPOULOS
February 28, 2003 No. 6 (202) 785-8430

Joint Letter to President Bush Protests Proposed Aid to Turkey In Exchange for Turkey's Military Cooperation Regarding Iraq

Concurs With Senior Bush Official Who Said Turkey's Actions Are "Extortion in the Name of Alliance"

WASHINGTON, DC -- A joint letter to President George W. Bush was sent on February 26, 2003 by leading Greek and Armenian American organizations to protest the Bush Administration's offer of $26 billion ($15 billion in grants and loans over one year) to Turkey in exchange for Turkey's military cooperation regarding Iraq. The letter concurs with the senior Bush official who called Turkey's actions "extortion in the name of alliance." (NY Times,Feb. 20, 2003, at A1; col. 6).

The letter, co-signed by the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), the Order of AHEPA, the Hellenic American National Council (HANC) and the American Hellenic Institute (AHI), criticized the multi-billion dollar offer as "unconscionable." The co-signers of the letter also questioned the strategy of opening a second front in Turkey from (1) the point of military necessity, (2) economic costs, and (3) morality.

Administration officials "were fuming" over Turkey's standoff and insistence on additional economic aid and incentives. In fact, "one senior official [called] the Turkish efforts to hold out for more aid -- and perhaps access to oil from the Kirkuk region of Iraq -- as 'extortion in the name of alliance.' Another said that despite a stream of aid from the United States, 'the Turks seem to think that we'll keep the bazaar open all night.'" (New York Times, Feb. 20, 2003, at A1; col. 6.)

The joint letter points out that, "Caving in to Turkey's demands is especially wrong in view of the fact that Turkey is neither vital nor needed by the U.S. in the event of war with Iraq. We did not need a second front in the Persian Gulf War of 1991 and we do not need it now in the event of war against Iraq."

Given the Administration's record deficit for the fiscal year 2004 budget, co-signers also asserted that, "It is fiscally irresponsible for Defense Department officials to be recommending the expenditure of $26 billion in economic aid for allowing about 60,000 U.S. troops in southeastern Turkey."

Any aid to Turkey should also be withheld on moral grounds. Turkey is currently in violation of: (1) the UN Charter Article 2(4), by its illegal invasion of Cyprus and continuing occupation of 37.3 percent of Cyprus; (2) numerous UN Security Counsel and General Assembly resolutions on Cyprus; (3) the NATO Treaty by its invasion of Cyprus; (4) the Geneva Convention of 1949 by its illegal settlement of over 90,000 Turks from Anatolia to northern occupied Cyprus; (5) the Genocide Convention by its actions against its 20 percent Kurdish minority; and (6) customary international law by its illegal blockade of Armenia. Turkey¹s shameless campaign to deny the Armenian Genocide is a profound moral issue.

As a closing recommendation to President Bush, the co-signatories note "It is past time for you to revise our present double standards policy toward Turkey that has proven so harmful to U.S. interests."

The February 26, 2003 letter to President Bush is attached (click here). To access enclosures cited in the letter, please link to here (for December 11, 2002 letter) and here (for September 4, 2002 letter).

For additional information, please contact Chrysoula Economopoulos at (202) 785-8430 or info@ahiworld.org. For general information regarding the activities of AHI, please view our website at http://www.ahiworld.org.