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AHI Sends Joint Letter to President Bush
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: GEORGIA ECONOMOU
May 17, 2004—No.39 (202) 785-8430

AHI Sends Joint Letter to President Bush

WASHINGTON, DC—On May 17, 2004, AHI sent a joint letter to President George W. Bush urging the "termination of the Turkey-Israel military cooperation understanding as not in the best interests of the U.S" and "a critical review of U.S. policy towards Turkey." The letter, which was signed by the American Kurdish Information Network, Hellenic American National Council and the American Hellenic Council of California, follows:

May 17, 2004

The Honorable George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

We believe that the Turkey-Israel military cooperation understanding is not in the best interests of the U.S. or Israel. That understanding was initiated primarily to obtain economic profits for Israel's defense industry, and not for reasons related to Israel’s security as a nation. The late Professor Amos Perlmutter stated on June 21, 1999 at an American Hellenic Institute noon forum that the goal of the military cooperation understanding was to provide jobs and profits for the Israeli defense industry and was not aimed at Greece. It was simply Israeli arms cooperation with Turkey for profits.

Israel does not need Turkey to defend herself. As was astutely observed long ago by Israeli General Moshe Dayan, Turkey is not within Israel's defense perimeter. Turkey is thus of limited value to Israel, and indeed, we believe that the Turkey-Israel relationship may actually be harmful to Israel.

The Turkey-Israel military cooperation understanding has been an impediment to the Mid-East peace process and the road map because of its misguided emphasis on the military rather than diplomacy.

It is also tragic that part of the understanding between Israel and Turkey was that Israel would continue to deny the Armenian Genocide and would not comment on Turkey's human rights violations against Turkey's 20 percent Kurdish minority.

Furthermore, Israel's military cooperation with Turkey makes Israel an accessory to Turkey's ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity and genocide against its 15-20 million Kurdish minority. It should also be noted that the U.S. military and economic assistance to Turkey these past decades has made the U.S. the prime accessory to Turkey’s massive human rights violations against the Kurds.

Israel’s failure to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide mirrors those individuals (and nations) who do not acknowledge the Jewish Holocaust. Unfortunately, Israel does not stand alone in this regard: the U.S. Executive Branch has also failed to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide. The U.S. and Israel also need to acknowledge the genocide by Turkey between 1914-1923 of 350,000 Greeks of the Pontos, Black Sea region.

The attempts to deny the Jewish Holocaust in books, articles and speeches have been vigorously denounced and rightly so by Israel and the U.S., in books, articles, speeches and in the media. Yet where is the outcry against Turkey's and Israel’s denial of the Armenian Genocide? And where is the outcry against Turkey's horrendous crimes against its Kurdish minority?

It is imperative that the U.S. change its policy towards Turkey. If nothing else, Turkey's refusal on March 1, 2003 to allow U.S. troops to use bases in Turkey to open a northern front on Iraq should have resulted in a critical review of U.S. policy towards Turkey. The successful prosecution of the war by the U.S. against Iraq without Turkey's help proved Turkey's marginality as a strategic resource in the region.

Unfortunately, a critical review of U.S.-Turkey relations has been blocked by the handful of Turkey's proponents to the detriment of U.S. interests. The handful of Turkey's proponents is comprised of present and former U.S. officials, think tank advocates and Turkey's paid U.S. foreign agents registered with the Department of Justice.

Leading the pack are Defense Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, Defense Under Secretary for Policy, Douglas Feith, former Defense Advisory Board member Richard Perle, State Under Secretary for Political Affairs, Marc Grossman and U.S. registered foreign agents for Turkey, former Congressmen Bob Livingston (R-LA) and Stephen Solarz (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 initiated by Richard Perle and was registered with the U.S. Department of Justice as a foreign agent for Turkey. Mr. Perle is a former paid consultant for Turkey in his capacity as a paid consultant to IAI at $48,000 annually.

U.S. policy regarding Turkey is not being run on the basis of what is best for the U.S., but on the basis of what Perle, Wolfowitz and Feith believe is best for Israel, which they then equate with what is best for the U.S. How else can one explain the decades long appeasement and double standards applied to Turkey on aggression, the rule of law and human rights. The Cold War has been over for 15 years.

We believe that the overwhelming majority of Jewish Americans recognize the Armenian Genocide and are appalled by Turkey’s horrendous human rights abuses against its Kurdish minority and citizens generally.

We urge a critical review of U.S. policy towards Turkey and we urge a termination of the Turkey-Israel military cooperation understanding as not in the best interests of the U.S.

Respectfully,

 

American Kurdish Information Network
/s/Kani Xulam, Director

Hellenic American National Council
/s/Ted Spyropoulos, President

American Hellenic Council of California
/s/Aris Anagnos, President

American Hellenic Institute
/s/Gene Rossides, President

cc:    Vice President Richard B. Cheney
Secretary of State Colin L. Powell
Secretary of the Treasury John W. Snow
Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld
UN Ambassador John D. Negroponte
Deputy Secretary of State Richard Lee Armitage
Chief of Staff Andrew Card
National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice
Senior Advisor to the President Karl Rove
Advisor to the President Karen Hughes
Director of OMB Joshua Bolten
Under Secretary of State Marc Grossman
Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs A. Elizabeth Jones
Special Coordinator for Cyprus Thomas Weston
The Congress

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For additional information, please contact Vivian Basdekis at (202) 785-8430 or at [email protected]. For general information about the activities of AHI, please see our Web site at http://www.ahiworld.org.