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Op-Ed by AHI General Counsel published in The National Herald
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: ANGELIKI VASSILIOU
December 11, 2003 No. 66 (202) 785-8430

Op-Ed by AHI General Counsel published in The National Herald

WASHINGTON, DC—The following Op-Ed article by AHI General Counsel Gene Rossides, appeared in The National Herald on December 6, 2003, p.11.

 

U.S. DOUBLE STANDARD TOWARDS TURKEY HARMS U.S. INTERESTS

By Gene Rossides

The U.S. has applied a double standard to Turkey for decades on aggression, the rule of law, human rights, democracy and sanctions to the serious detriment of U.S. interests worldwide, including our efforts to build democratic institutions in Iraq.

It is past time for the U.S. to correct and change its policy of double standards for and appeasement of Turkey which harms U.S. interests.

Let’s look at the record.

Aggression

Turkey’s aggression against Cyprus in July 1974 was universally condemned except by the U.S. The then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger pointedly refused to condemn Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus and halt military aid to Turkey as required by U.S. law.

Indeed Kissinger actually set the stage for Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus by refusing to condemn the Greek dictator Brig. General Ioannides coup against President Makarios on July 15, 1974 and leaked to the New York Timeson July 17, 1974, that the U.S. was leaning towards recognizing Nicos Sampson as President of Cyprus. (NY Times, July 18, 1974, at page 1, column 8, the lead article.)

The U.S., through Secretary Kissinger’s actions, was responsible for the breakdown on August 13, 1974 of UN sponsored negotiations and Turkey’s renewed aggression on August 14-16, 1974, which resulted in a land grab of 33% of Cyprus three weeks after the legitimate government of Cyprus had been restored on July 23, 1974.

How did Kissinger do this?

He did it by undermining the UN-sponsored negotiations and cease-fire by initiating and approving a statement issued on August 13, 1974 by State Department spokesman Robert Anderson that the Turkish Cypriots needed more security even though there was no evidence of any threat to the Turkish Cypriot community.

That statement was followed the next day, August 14, 1974, with Turkish forces breaking out of the four percent of Cyprus they controlled and occupying over thirty-seven percent of Cyprus. In the process Turkish troops forced over 180,000 Greek Cypriots from their homes and properties, with killings and rapes documented by the European Commission on Human Rights.

Rule of law

There are numerous examples of Turkey’s violations of law which the U.S. supported, overlooked or refused to condemn:

  • Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus in 1974 violated the U.S. Foreign Assistance laws, the UN Charter, the NATO Treaty and customary international law;
  • Turkey’s several invasions of northern Iraq to attack Kurds also violated the same laws;
  • Turkish forces have been illegally in northern Iraq for years;
  • Turkey’s economic blockade of Armenia preventing U.S. humanitarian assistance to Armenia; and
  • Turkey’s continuous violations of Greek air space in the Aegean.

Human rights

Turkey ranks with those nations who are the worst violators of human rights currently and in the 20th century. Turkey’s ethnic cleansing crimes against humanity and genocide against its twenty percent Kurdish minority of fifteen million has been well-documented including by the congressionally mandated State Department annual Human Rights Country reports.

Turkey’s crimes against its Kurdish citizens, led by the Turkish military include:

  • the killing of over 30,000 innocent Kurdish civilians;
  • the assassination, according to the Turkish Ministry of Justice, of 18,500 Kurds by mercenaries under the military’s direction. (See Eric Rouleau "Turkey’s Dream of Democracy, "Foreign Affairs, Nov./Dec. 2000, at page 112); and
  • the destruction of 3,000 Kurdish villages creating 3 million refugees.

Turkey’s human rights violations against its citizens generally is also well documented:

  • its national torture policy;
  • its thousands of political prisoners including elected officials; and
  • its jailed journalists.

When is our government going to publicly embrace Turkey’s courageous human rights activists? When are we going to call for the release of political prisoners and journalists and do something about it?

Democracy

The U.S. Executive Branch periodically calls Turkey a democracy with Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz leading the parade. The truth and facts are otherwise. Turkey is a military-dominated government. The military is not subject to civilian rule. The military controls national security and foreign affairs under the constitution it wrote. The military controls its own budget and owns vast private business enterprises.

Sanctions

The U.S. applies sanctions against a number of countries in order to achieve goals we desire. When is the U.S. going to apply sanctions to Turkey instead of giving U.S. tax dollars to Turkey in economic and military aid and supporting aid to Turkey from the International Monetary Fund and World Bank?

You can make a difference. Call and write to President Bush, your Representative and two Senators and request (1) a halt in aid to Turkey and (2) a critical review of U.S. policy towards Turkey in the interests of the U.S.:

President George W. Bush
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500
Telephone: 202-456-1111
Representative _____________

House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
Telephone: 202-224-3121
Senator _____________

U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
Telephone: 202-224-3121

This information is on the AHI website www.ahiworld.org. Get active. You can make a difference.

For additional information, please contact Angeliki Vassiliou at (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.

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