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Greek American Organizations' Policy Statement on Economic and Military Aid to Turkey
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: ANGELIKI VASSILIOU
March 4, 2004—No.14 (202) 785-8430

GREEK AMERICAN ORGANIZATIONS' POLICY STATEMENT ON ECONOMIC AND MILITARY AID TO TURKEY

WASHINGTON, DC—The American Hellenic Institute founder, Gene Rossides, announced today that the major Greek American membership organizations approved the policy statement on "Economic and Military Aid to Turkey" prepared by the American Hellenic Institute. These are: the Order of AHEPA, the Hellenic American National Council, the Cyprus Federation of America, the Panepirotic Federation of America, the Pan-Macedonian Association of America and the Evrytanian Association of America, the American Hellenic Council of California and the American Hellenic Institute. The approved statement on "Economic and Military Aid to Turkey", which is part of the 2004 Greek American Policy Statements follows:

Economic and Military Aid to Turkey

The Administration's Iraq War Supplemental Appropriations Bill, which passed the Congress on April 12, 2003, provided $1 billion in economic aid to Turkey despite Turkey's failure to help the U.S. when it counted most, and in the Fiscal Year 2004 Appropriations Bill, Turkey received another $255 million in economic and military aid!

The US, in its own best interests, should not give economic and military aid to Turkey. The U.S. should publicly repudiate Turkey’s illegal use of U.S. arms in Turkey’s invasion and continuing occupation of Cyprus and in its actions suppressing the ethnic Kurdish minority in southeastern Turkey and northern Iraq. The U.S. should stop further sales or transfers of arms and military technology to Turkey and should continue an arms embargo until Turkey supports a democratic, workable, financially viable and just solution to the Cyprus problem and demonstrates significant improvement in its human rights record. Ceasing U.S. arms supplies will contribute to a more rational allocation of Turkey’s resources, thereby bringing about badly needed economic reform. Halting further arms sales or transfers will also eliminate a stimulus for the regional arms race.

Since the 1980's Turkey's brutal suppression of its Kurdish minority has been accomplished with U.S.- supplied arms as documented in reports by the State Department, the World Policy Institute, the Federation of American Scientists, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. The continuation by the U.S. of arms to Turkey has made the U.S. an accessory to Turkey's horrific human rights record against its Kurdish minority.

Similarly, Turkey's illegal use of U.S.- supplied arms in its invasion and continuing occupation of Cyprus, and the U.S.'s failure to immediately halt arms to Turkey as required by U.S. law, and the failure to denounce Turkeys aggression, as most nations did, made the U.S. an accessory to Turkey's invasion of and occupation in Cyprus.

Despite the end of the Cold War, Turkey has a military inventory far beyond its legitimate defense needs. Who is threatening Turkey? Each year Turkey spends a disproportionately large amount of its resources on its military. This not only reflects the military’s deeply entrenched control over Turkish society, but also drains away resources better spent on economic reform. The result is chronic financial distress necessitating periodic requests for emergency assistance from the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the U.S. taxpayer.

The following are fourteen reasons why the U.S., in its own best interests, should not give more economic and military aid to Turkey:

  1. Turkey’s unreliability as a strategic ally. Turkey’s actions opposing the use of Turkish bases by U.S. troops to open a northern front against the Saddam Hussein dictatorship demonstrated its unreliability as a strategic ally. The Turkish military were key players in the "no" vote which put U.S. forces at risk. They thought we needed Turkey and that we would give Turkey more dollars, a veto on policy regarding the Iraqi Kurds and access to Iraqi oil. They miscalculated the U.S. reaction.

  2. A senior administration official called Turkey’s actions "extortion in the name of alliance." (NY Times, 2-20-03; A1, col.6.)

  3. The fact that the U.S. opened a northern front and defeated Saddam Hussein without Turkey demonstrated that Turkey is of minimal values for U.S. strategic interests in the Middle East.

  4. Turkey’s continuing illegal occupation of Cyprus, now in its 30th year, with over 35,000 Turkish armed forces and 100,000 illegal colonists from Turkey.

  5. It costs Turkey $1 billion annually for its illegal occupation of 37.3% of Cyprus. Money is fungible. Aid given to Turkey means that the U.S. taxpayer is subsidizing Turkey’s occupation forces, the illegal colonists, and the Denktash regime.

  6. Turkey’s horrendous human rights violations against its citizens generally and in particular against its 20 percent Kurdish minority.

  7. Turkey’s illegal blockade of Armenia.

  8. Giving Turkey more money is rewarding disloyalty.

  9. Our huge deficit.

  10. Our substantial domestic needs.

  11. The facts as set forth by Eric Rouleau in Foreign Affairs (Nov./Dec. 2000; at pages 110-112) that the Turkish military has "tens of billions of dollars" in a cash fund and owns vast business enterprises including the arms production companies of Turkey.

  12. The fact that Turkey owes the U.S. $5 billion.

  13. The fact that Turkey’s U.S. foreign agents and publicists registered with the Department of Justice have contracts totaling $2.4 million. Since money is fungible, $2.4 million of any aid to Turkey goes to these U.S. foreign agents and publicists from U.S. taxpayer dollars.

  14. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld stated on April 18, 2003 that the Incirlik Air Base in southeast Turkey is no longer needed to patrol the northern Iraq "no-fly zone" and that the U.S. has withdrawn nearly all the 50 attack and support planes from Incirlik (NY Times, 4-29-03, A11, col. 6).

For the full text of our policy statements click here.

For additional information, please contact Angeliki Vassiliou at (202) 785-8430 or at [email protected]. For general information on AHI, see our Web site at www.ahiworld.org.