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 February 14-15, 2004, p.10.
Erdogan Visit—Double Standards and Appeasement
By Gene Rossides
The invitation and visit of Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to meet with President George W. Bush at the White House demonstrates the stranglehold that the neo-conservative war hawks have on U.S. policy toward Turkey to the detriment of U.S. interests.
It is a policy of appeasement and double standards maneuvered by a handful of war hawks. I prefer the term "warmonger" as more accurate. Webster's dictionary defines warmonger as "one who favors or tries to incite war."
The invitation also demonstrates the lack of concern by this administration as to the views and influence of Greek Americans.
The Clinton Administration was no better. It failed to carry out its campaign pledge of 1992, and after being elected President, Clinton actually told Greek Americans he would not press Turkey regarding Cyprus.
How could the U.S. invite Prime Minister Erdogan to the White House in view of the Turkish Parliament's vote on March 1, 2003, with the military's support, refusing the use of bases in Turkey by U.S. troops to open a northern front against the Saddam Hussein dictatorship?
The U.S. stated that it would treat differently those countries that did not help or impeded the U.S. war on Iraq. The U.S. specifically mentioned France, Germany, and Russia, but omitted Turkey whose refusal to help when it counted most actually put U.S. troops in harms way.
The issue is not whether one was for or against a preemptive war against Iraq. The issue is that Turkey double crossed the U.S. when we needed her help and she did it to obtain (1) more billions of dollars, (2) a veto of U.S. policy on the northern Iraq Kurds, and (3) access to northern Iraq oil for her cooperation.
A senior administration official called Turkey's actions "extortion in the name of alliance." (NY Times, Feb. 20, 2003, at A1; col. 6.)
Greek Americans should consider the Erdogan visit as a clarion call to action—and specifically to political action.
Greek Americans should be calling, writing, faxing, and e-mailing the Executive Branch and the Congress protesting the disgrace of the Erdogan visit and the continuing cover-up of the U.S. support of Turkey's coup against President Makarios and Turkey's invasion of Cyprus through the actions of then Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger.
And we should be doing the same with the Democrat presidential candidates.
Who are the administration officials driving U.S. policy towards Turkey? As I've written before, Turkey's alleged importance has been propagated to the detriment of U.S. interests by a handful of U.S. officials and Turkey's paid U.S. foreign agents registered with the Justice Department. It is useful to repeat their names.
Leading the pack are Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, Defense Under Secretary Douglas Feith, Richard Perle, former Assistant Secretary of Defense, and presently a member of the Defense Advisory Board, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Marc Grossman, former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, Mort Abramowitz and U.S. registered foreign agents for Turkey, former Congressmen Bob Livingston (R-LA) and Stephen Solarg (D-NY) who are paid $1.8 million annually by Turkey.
Mr. Feith is a former paid agent of Turkey who headed International Advisors Inc. (IAI) from 1989 - 1994 and received $60,000 annually. IAI was registered with the Justice Department as a foreign agent for Turkey. Mr. Perle is a former paid consultant for Turkey in his capacity as a paid consultant for IAI at $48,000 annually.
Turkey's failure to help the U.S. in the Iraq War proved Turkey's unreliablity as a strategically. The U.S.'s successful prosecution of the war also proved Turkey's minimal value as a strategically in the region.
Turkey's vote on March 1, 2003 is not the first time Turkey has double-crossed the U.S. As I have also written before, the Turkish military actually aided the Soviet military during the Cold War to the serious detriment of the U.S. and NATO.
Yet today we see the massive public relations effort of Turkey's advocates, Wolfowitz, Perle, Feith et al, to cover-up Turkey's disloyalty as an ally for their own interests to the detriment of the U.S.
In addition to being warmongers, Perle and Feith are arms profiteers, have received substantial monies from Turkey during 1989-1994 after successfully pressing for more arms for Turkey in the 1980's when they were Defense Department officials.
Turkey is the cause of problems and tensions in its region, not the solution. Just look at the record.
Turkey's 1974 invasion of Cyprus with 40,000 troops and the occupation of 37.3 percent of the island—all accomplished with the illegal use of U.S. arms—are affronts to the international legal order, violations of the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended, the UN Charter, article 2(4) and the North Atlantic Treaty and are a continuing threat to regional stability.
Turkey and human rights
Turkey's horrendous human rights record has been well-documented in numerous credible reports including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and successive State Department Reports on Turkey.
These reports have stated that "extrajudicial killings, including deaths in detention from excessive use of force, 'mystery killings,' and disappearances continued. Torture remained widespread." Thousands of political prisoners cram Turkish jails. Dozens of journalists have been assassinated and many others are in jail.
Abuses against the Kurds
The suppression of human rights has been particularly brutal against Turkey's twenty percent Kurdish minority of 15 million and amounts to ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity and genocide.
The Turkish military has killed 35,000 Kurds in military campaigns since 1984 and 18,500 Kurds were assassinated by "mercenaries working either directly or indirectly for the security agencies." (See Eric Rouleau, "Turkey's Dream of Democracy," Foreign Affairs, Nov. Dec. 2000, pages 100-114, at page 112.)
It is not too much to say that the blood of these Kurds is on the hands of Messrs Perle, Feith, and Wolfowitz, who spearheaded more arms for Turkey's military in the 1980's.
Aegean Sea Boundary
Turkey has made outlandish claims to one-half of the Aegean Sea and refuses to take its claim to the International Court of Justice at The Hague.
Religious freedom, a basic human right, is not enjoyed by the Orthodox Christians in Turkey. And Turkey illegally closed the Halki Patriarchal School of Theology in 1971.
The Greek American community, in the interests of the U.S. should redouble its efforts to bring the facts and issues to the American people and our elected representatives. This presidential election year gives us an important opportunity for political action. Get active. You can make a difference.
For additional information, please contact Angeliki Vassiliou at (202) 785-8430 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. For general information about the activities of AHI, please see our Web site at http://www.ahiworld.org.
Op-Ed by AHI General Counsel published in The National Herald