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Op-Ed by AHI President Published in The National Herald
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: GEORGIA ECONOMOU
December 21, 2004—No.82 (202) 785-8430

Op-Ed by AHI President Published in The National Herald

WASHINGTON, DC—The following Op-Ed article by AHI President Gene Rossides appeared in The National Herald on December 18, 2004, page 11.

U.S. Double Standard for Turkey Damages U.S. Interests

By Gene Rossides

The United States application of a double standard on the rule of law to Turkey has damaged and continues to damage Unites States interests in the region and throughout the world, yet little notice is given to it in the media or academic and think tank communities.

Further, the U.S. appeasement of Turkey at the expense of Greece, Cyprus, and other nations in the region also damages U.S. interests.

Let’s look at the facts.

1.  When Turkey invaded Cyprus on July 20, 1974 with the illegal use of U.S.
supplied arms, the State Department violated the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended, which prohibited the use of U.S. supplied arms for aggression, by refusing to halt immediately arms to Turkey. The Secretary of State at that time was Henry A. Kissinger. Kissinger and the State Department refused to denounce Turkey’s invasion.

2.  From August 14-16, 1974, Turkey broke the UN sponsored negotiations and cease-fire and renewed its aggression with a massive assault on the Greek Cypriots and increased its land grab from 4 percent to 37.3 percent of Cyprus with widespread destruction, killings, rapes and looting, and forced 200,000 Greek Cypriots from their homes and properties. The U.S. again violated the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 by failing to halt arms to Turkey and did not denounce the renewed aggression.

Indeed on August 13, 1974 an official State Department announcement approved by Kissinger encouraged the renewed aggression by stating that the Turkish Cypriots needed more protection.

3.  On February 26, 1975 Kissinger initiated legislation to overturn the rule of law embargo enacted by the Congress in the fall of 1974 following Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus when the State Department had refused to apply the provisions of the Foreign Assistance Act to Turkey.

In the spring and summer of 1975 Secretary of State Henry Kissinger mounted a massive effort to overturn the embargo. Congress held firm in July 1975 but partially weakened thereafter and on October 2, 1975 the rule of law was partially lifted.

4.  President Jimmy Carter in direct violation of his campaign pledge of September 16, 1976, initiated a substantial lobbying effort with the Congress in 1978 to lift the remaining rule of law embargo. That effort succeeded in the summer of 1978.

5.  Turkey, in violation of the Geneva Convention of 1949, has brought over 100,000 illegal Turkish colonists/ settlers from Anatolia to occupied Cyprus. The U.S. has done nothing to stop the flow of these settlers nor pushed to have them returned to Turkey.

6.  In 1984 Turkey started a massive military operation against its Kurdish minority who were seeking political, human and cultural rights. The Turks used 250,000 soldiers in operations which over the years killed over 30,000 innocent Kurdish citizens, destroyed 3,000 Kurdish villages and created three million Kurdish refugees.

The U.S. Executive Branch did nothing to object to Turkey’s ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity and genocide against the Kurds. Indeed the U.S. continued military and economic aid to Turkey making the U.S. an accessory to Turkey’s actions against its 20 percent Kurdish minority. There is also the issue of the legality of the use of U.S. arms by Turkey against its Kurdish minority.

7.  Turkey has repeatedly since the mid-1980s illegally invaded northern Iraq with the illegal use of U.S. arms to attack the Kurds in northern Iraq. Again the U.S. Executive failed to enforce the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 and did nothing despite pleas from Congress.

8.  The Aegean Sea boundary. Turkey has made claim to one-half of the Aegean Sea and refuses to take its claim to the International Court of Justice at the Hague for a binding ruling. The State Department has refused to state publicly that it accepts as final the treaty-defined demarcation of the maritime border between Greece and Turkey in the Aegean Sea. The relevant agreements are the Lausanne Treaty of 1923, the Italy-Turkey Convention of January 4, 1932, the Italy-Turkey Protocol of December 28, 1932 and the 1947 Paris Peace Treaty, under which the Dodecanese Islands and adjacent islets were ceded by Italy and Greece.

The U.S. is a signatory to the 1947 Paris Peace Treaty and is obligated by U.S. law to carry out its provisions. The State Department has failed to publicly declare what the law is despite requests and should do so now. The U.S. should also publicly repudiate any challenge to the treaty -defined boundary and should urge Turkey to submit its claim to the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

9.  Turkish violation of Greek air space in the Aegean has been ongoing since at least 1974, three decades, and the U.S. has basically done nothing to stop it.

10.  Economic blockade of Armenia. AHI supports the Armenian American community’s efforts on the Humanitarian Aid Corridor Act, passed as part of the 1997 Foreign Aid Bill, which calls for a halt to U.S. assistance to any country blocking U.S. aid to another country. The Turkish blockage of aid to Armenia includes U.S. humanitarian and pharmaceutical aid. We deplore the Administration's waiver of that Act for Turkey.

It is in the interests of the U.S. to recognize the 1915 Armenian Genocide on the lines of H. Res. 193 which had passed by the House International Relations Committee and S. Res. 164 in the Senate. We refer readers to Peter Balakian's new book The Burning Tigris, a remarkable history of the Armenian genocide by the Young Turk government in Turkey. Mr. Balakian includes the details of the humanitarian movement of leading American public citizens and ordinary citizens to save the Armenians.

11.  Armenian Genocide. The Executive Branch actively and successfully lobbied
to prevent the Congress from passing an Armenian Genocide resolution.

12. The undemocratic, unworkable and not financially viable UN Annan Plan was influenced and drafted primarily by Lord David Hannay of Britain and the U.S. The undemocratic features of the British and U.S. maneuvered Annan Plan, whereby an 18 percent Turkish Cypriot minority has a veto over all legislation and executive decisions makes a mockery of the U.S. "Initiative for Democracy in the Middle East" and elsewhere.

A future article will discuss those presently responsible for the U.S. double standard for and appeasement of Turkey to the detriment of U.S. interests.

Gene Rossides,
President of the American Hellenic
Institute and a former Assistant
Secretary of the Treasury

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For additional information, please contact Georgia Economou 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.