American Hellenic Institute

2017GreekHeritagebutton

AHI Calendar

 
Facebook Image
Op-Ed by AHI General Counsel Gene Rossides Published in The National Herald
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: ANGELIKI VASSILIOU
December 1, 2003 No. 61 (202) 785-8430

Op-Ed by AHI General Counsel Gene Rossides Published in The National Herald

WASHINGTON, DC—The following Op-Ed article by AHI General Counsel Gene Rossides, appeared in The National Herald on November 22 2003, p.11.

YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE

By Gene Rossides

The American Hellenic Institute believes that military and economic aid to Turkey is not in the best interests of the U. S. The Executive Branch is currently preparing the budget for Fiscal Year 2005 which will go to the Congress in February 2004.

Each of you can make a difference by calling and writing to the President, your elected Representative and your two Senators opposing aid to Turkey in the FY 2005 Budget and Appropriations Bill for Foreign Operations as contrary to U.S. interests. It is easy to do and it doesn't take too much time.

If you don’t want your tax dollars going to Turkey then act now. Following are ten reasons why the U.S. should not give more taxpayer dollars to Turkey:

  • Turkey’s action on March 1, 2003 opposing the use of Turkish bases by U.S. troops to open a northern front against the Saddam Hussein dictatorship, when we needed it most, demonstrated Turkey's unreliability as a strategic ally. The Turkish military wanted more dollars, a veto on policy regarding the Iraqi Kurds and access to Iraqi oil. They miscalculated the U.S. reaction.

  • A senior administration official called Turkey’s actions "extortion in the name of alliance" (N.Y. Times, 2-20-03).

  • The Administration gave Turkey $1 billion in the Iraq War Appropriations Bill in April and another $255 million in the FY 2004 Appropriations Bill for Foreign Operations. They did not deserve that money and they don’t deserve any more.

  • The U.S. defeated Saddam Hussein without Turkey demonstrating that Turkey is of minimal strategic value for U.S. interests in the Middle East. The Iraqi rejection of Turkish troops for the coalition in Iraq further demonstrates Turkey’s minimal strategic value.

  • Giving Turkey more money would continue to reward disloyalty.

  • Turkey’s continuing illegal occupation of Cyprus, now in its 29thyear, with over 35,000 Turkish armed forces and 100,000 illegal colonists. U.S. aid subsidizes Turkey’s occupation of Cyprus.

  • Our huge deficit.

  • Our substantial domestic needs.

  • Turkey’s horrendous human rights violations against its citizens, in particular its 15 million Kurdish minority.

  • Turkey’s illegal blockade of Armenia.

"All politics is local." I first came across this phrase in my American politics seminar at Columbia in one of the required reading list books,You're The Boss by Ed Flynn, the legendary Democratic political leader of the Bronx who put Franklin Roosevelt in the White House in 1932.

Flynn's book epitomizes what Tip O'Neill, former Speaker of the House said in his memoir that " all politics is local."

I mention this because each person can make a difference in public affairs.

Central to making a difference is being active in the political arena. A key way is to be active in a political party. If you do not want to be in a party, you can still be effective by being in contact with your elected representatives on the national, state and local levels on issues of concern to you. Also make campaign contributions to the candidates of your choice.

The second way to be active is to become engaged with the media. Too often someone has told me that they wrote a letter to the editor and it wasn't published and they became discouraged. Don't be! Every letter is important because it may help one get printed and some day that one could be yours.

If you don't want your tax dollars going to Turkey then get active politically by contacting the President, your two U.S. Senators and your Representatives.

It's easy to contact the President and leave a message. You simply telephone the President's message line, which is 202-456-1111. Your message will be recorded and tabulated so that he will be informed as to what issues the public is calling about and their positions on the issue.

You address correspondence to the President as follows:

President George W. Bush
The White House
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

Your letter should be as brief as possible. Your purpose should be stated in the first paragraph—opposition to economic and military aid to Turkey in the Fiscal Year 2005 Budget and Appropriations Bill for Foreign Operations. Also state you object to your tax dollars going to Turkey when we have a huge debt, a huge deficit and domestic needs.

Also fax the letter to the President—fax: 202-456-0200 and e-mail it to him at President@whitehouse.gov.

It is easy to call your Representative and two Senators by dialing the central Capitol switchboard: 202-224-3121 and ask for your Representative or Senator. Also make sure to write them. You address letters to the Senate as follows:

Senator ____________
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator ______:

You address letters to the House as follows:

Representative _____________
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Representative______:

You can find all this information on the AHI websitewww.ahiworld.org.

If you don’t want your tax dollars going to Turkey, do something about it. Get active. You can make a difference. 

For additional information, please contact Angeliki Vassiliouat (202) 785-8430 or atangeliki@ahiworld.org. For general information about the activities of AHI, please see our Web site at http://www.ahiworld.org.

# # #

The American Hellenic Institute (AHI) and its affiliate organizations, the American Hellenic Institute Public Affairs Committee (AHIPAC), the American Hellenic Institute Foundation (AHIF), and the AHI Business Network, a division of the AHI, are working together under one roof, to provide a joint program for strengthening United States relations with Greece and Cyprus and within the American Hellenic community.