American Hellenic Institute

AHI Calendar

 
Facebook Image
AHI Sends Letter to President George W. Bush Regarding The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times and Turkey
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: C. Franciscos Economides
March 11, 2005—No.18 (202) 785-8430

AHI Sends Letter to President George W. Bush Regarding The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times and Turkey

WASHINGTON, DC—On March 10, 2005 AHI President Gene Rossides sent a letter to George W. Bush regarding The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times and Turkey. The text of the letter follows:

March 10, 2005
The Honorable George W. Bush
President
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Re: The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times and Turkey

Dear Mr. President:

On February 16, 2005 The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) carried an editorial page article "The Sick Man of Europe—Again" by Mr. Robert L. Pollock, a senior editorial page writer at the WSJ. Finally a mainstream journalist, and a conservative one at that, has given the U.S. public the real picture of Turkey’s virulent anti-American and anti-Semitic attitudes. He tells it as it is. Attached is a copy of Mr. Pollock’s article.

On March 8, 2005, the noted journalist, Arnaud de Borchgrave, editor at large of The Washington Times and of United Press International, in an article titled "Cold Turkey" (Washington Times, 3-8-05, A17, col.1) pointed out that "Turkey, an erstwhile ally, nabbed the gold medal recently in the global anti-American stakes" citing a BBC world survey. A copy of Mr. de Borchgrave’s article is attached.

The U.S. media has failed to cover adequately the situation in Turkey for decades. They have taken handouts and statements from U.S. officials without serious questioning or investigation. Speeches and interviews by Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Marc Grossman have contained blatant falsehoods, misleading statements and serious omissions of fact regarding:

  1. Turkey’s reliability and value as a NATO ally;
  2. its horrendous human rights record against its citizens generally;
  3. its ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity and genocide against its 20% Kurdish minority of 15 million;
  4. Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus in 1974 and its armed occupation of 37.3% of Cyprus now in its 31st year;
  5. its human rights violations in Cyprus; and
  6. the undemocratic, unworkable and financially not viable Annan Plan for the settlement of the Cyprus issue.

The British inspired Annan Plan actually provided for the 18% Turkish minority to have veto power over all legislative and executive decisions! It also required the Greek Cypriots to pay for the damages caused by the Turkish military and to pay for the return of their own property in the occupied north!

Mr. Pollock’s detailed article will hopefully change the media’s complacency and work habits regarding Turkey.

Mr. President, what is also very much needed in the interests of the U.S. is a reassessment by your administration of its policy towards Turkey. Hopefully Mr. Pollock’s article will stimulate such a reassessment which should include, at a minimum the following issues:

Cyprus

In your eloquent inaugural address you called for liberty, freedom and democracy throughout the world. We urge you to apply these words and policy to Cyprus by calling for the immediate:

  1. withdrawal from Cyprus of Turkey’s 35,000 invasion and occupation troops which threaten the Greek Cypriots;
  2. removal from Cyprus of Turkey’s 100,000 plus illegal settlers/colonists and the halt to Turkey continuing colonization aimed at changing the demographics of Cyprus; and
  3. tearing down of the Turkish Green Line barbed wire fence across the face of Cyprus which prevents freedom of movement of both the Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

Turkey’s illegal invasion of Cyprus in 1974 is the equivalent, as a matter of law, to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Turkey and Iraq both violated the UN Charter (Art. 2 (4)) and international law. In addition Turkey violated the NATO Treaty. The factual difference is that Turkey is a NATO ally and Iraq is not. Also Iraq and Kuwait have oil and Turkey does not.

President George H. W. Bush in 1990 mobilized world opinion and the United Nations and in January 1991 the U.S. led the effort under international law that halted and reversed Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait.

Mr. President, you should stop the double standard on the rule of law for Turkey and should apply the Eisenhower Doctrine: "There can be no peace without law. And there can be no law if we were to invoke one code of international conduct for those who oppose us and another for our friends."

The Geneva Convention of 1949, section III, article 49, prohibits colonization by an occupying power. Article 49 states in its last paragraph: "The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies." Today there are over 100,000 illegal Turkish colonists in Cyprus and Turkey is continuing its illegal colonization program with the aim of changing the demographics of Cyprus.

The Turkish Green Line barbed wire fence across Cyprus, together with Turkish troops and 100,000 illegal colonists, prevent the full liberty and freedom of the people of Cyprus—the Greek and Turkish Cypriots. The Green Line, together with Turkey’s troops and illegal colonists is also the cause of the Turkish Cypriots isolation. Remove Turkey’s troops, colonists and the Green Line barbed wire fence and the Turkish Cypriots isolation will vanish.

The above points are clear and obvious. Why haven’t they been recognized and applied? The answer is the State Department’s double standard on the application of the rule of law to Turkey in 1974, and the support then Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger gave to Turkey in (1) the July 15, 1974 illegal Greek junta coup against President Makarios of Cyprus, (2) the July 20, 1974 invasion of Cyprus by Turkey and (3) the second wave of the invasion on August 14-16, 1974 in which Turkey occupied 33% more of Cyprus three weeks after the legitimate government of Cyprus had been restored.

The State Department’s actions and inactions in 1974 will forever stain the reputation of Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger who was in full charge of U.S. foreign policy at that time and deliberately violated the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 by failing to halt immediately U.S. arms to Turkey as required by that basic U.S. law.

The State Department since that time to the present time has followed the same double standard on the application of the rule of law to Turkey and has actively tried to cover-up Kissinger’s illegal conduct.

Instead of calling for the removal of (1) Turkish invasion and occupation troops from Cyprus, (2) the illegal colonists and (3) the illegal Turkish Green Line barbed wired fence, the State Department says they are part of the negotiations, which means, in effect, the State Department’s support for Turkish aggression.

The State Department’s "double speak" on Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus compared to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait is right out of George Orwell’s 1984.

Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), a senior member of the House International Relations Committee, recently stated that "the ‘no’ vote issued by the Greek Cypriots was not a vote against reunification. Rather, it was the legitimate expression of the real concerns that made that particular version of the Annan Plan unacceptable to the Greek Cypriot voters, particularly the continuing presence of Turkish troops on the island. They’ve got to go." (Speech, Washington, D.C., 3-5-05, American Hellenic Institute annual dinner.)

Mr. President, you call for the immediate removal of Syrian troops from Lebanon which we support as in the best interests of the U.S. Why have you not called for the immediate removal of Turkey’s occupation troops from Cyprus? The failure to call for the removal of Turkish troops from Cyprus is another example of the double standard for Turkey. The Turkish troops are invaders and occupiers.

Turkey’s aggression and occupation of 37% of Cyprus in 1974 with the massive destruction caused by Turkey’s armed forces; the 200,000 Greek Cypriot refugees forced from their homes; the bread basket agricultural area of Cyprus under Turkish occupation; and the killings of innocent Greek Cypriots and rapes of women from 12 to 71 on a substantial scale—left the Republic of Cyprus devastated and with huge problems.

The Greek Cypriot leadership responded to the challenge by basing their future on hard work and the rule of law—not on violence. They achieved an economic revival and miracle against huge odds. At practically every step of the way they encountered opposition from Turkey, Britain and the U.S. State Department, yet they persisted and succeeded and became a member state of the European Union!

In the meantime, the northern occupied part of Cyprus under the Turkish military control and Rauf Denktash, became known for lawlessness from drug smuggling to money laundering.

A free united Cyprus, without Turkish troops, Turkish colonists and the Green Line, and with a "constitutional democracy based on majority rule, the rule of law, and the protection of minority rights….free from the threat of war," as proposed by Bush 41 in July 1988, would be in the best interest of the U.S. and of Israel as it would be (1) a beacon of liberty, freedom and democracy and (2) would prevent there ever being an extremist Muslim territory on Cyprus which could threaten Israel.

Kurds

Turkey’s actions against its Kurdish minority since 1984 have been characterized as ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity and genocide. The recent efforts of Turkey to placate the international community regarding the Kurds are minimal and do not change the second class citizen status of the Kurds in Turkey. When is the U.S. going to stand up for the courageous human rights activists in Turkey?

It should not be forgotten that in 1984 the Turkish army using 250,000 troops initiated a reign of terror against the Kurdish minority in Southeastern Turkey in which they killed over 30,000 innocent Kurdish civilians and destroyed 3,000 villages creating 3,000,000 Kurdish refugees (See Eric Rouleau, "Turkey’s Dream of Democracy," Foreign Affairs, Nov. Dec. 2000, pp 100-114.)

Armenia

It is shameful that the U.S. has not publicly recognized the Armenian Genocide. We urge you to overrule the State Department’s failure to do so. The world community and the academic community overwhelmingly recognize the Armenian genocide. The Library of Congress held a major conference on the Armenian Genocide several years ago, yet the State Department continues its opposition to recognition.

We urge you to call for the removal of Turkey’s illegal economic blockage of Armenia which also prevents U.S. humanitarian aid to Armenia.

Turkey’s lack of reliability as an ally and assistance to the Soviet military

The March 1, 2003 vote of the Turkish Parliament refusing to allow the U.S. to use bases in Turkey to open a second front against Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship is well-known and should not be forgotten or put under the rug. It did substantial damage to the U.S. as Secretary Rumsfeld recently stated and caused the loss of many U.S. military lives.

Mr. President, Turkey’s unreliability on March 1, 2003 should not have been a surprise. The record shows that during the Cold War Turkey brushed aside U.S. interests on many occasions and deliberately gave substantial assistance to the Soviet military.

In 1974, Edward Luttwak, the noted strategic analyst, discussed Turkey’s cooperation with the Soviet military during the Cold War. He wrote at that time the following:

No longer presenting a direct threat to the integrity of Turkish national territory, and no longer demanding formal revision of the Straits navigation regime, the Soviet Union has nevertheless successfully exercised armed suasion over Turkey, even while maintaining a fairly benevolent stance, which includes significant aid flows. Faced with a sharp relative increase in Russian strategic and naval power, and eager to normalize relations with their formidable neighbor, the Turks have chosen to conciliate the Russians, and have been able to do so at little or no direct cost to themselves. It is only in respect to strategic transit that Turkey is of primary importance to the Soviet Union, and this is the area where the concessions have been made. Examples of such deflection, where the Russians are conciliated at the expense of western rather than specifically Turkish interests, include the overland traffic agreement (unimpeded Russian transit to Iraq and Syria by road), the generous Turkish interpretation of the Montreux Convention, which regulates ship movements in the Straits, and above all, the overflight permissions accorded to Russian civilian and military aircraft across Turkish air space. The alliance relationship in NATO and with the United States no doubt retains a measure of validity in Turkish eyes, but it is apparent that its supportive effect is not enough to counteract Russian suasion, especially since the coercion is latent and packaged in a benevolent, diplomatic stance. (Luttwak, The Political Uses of Sea Power, Johns Hopkins Press, 1974, pp. 60-61.)

Examples of Turkey’s unreliability for U.S. strategic purposes include:

  1. During the 1973 Mid-East War, predating the Turkish invasion of Cyprus by one year, Turkey refused the United States military overflight rights to resupply Israel and granted the U.S.S.R. overland military convoy rights to resupply Syria and Iraq, and military overflight permission to resupply Egypt. A member of the Turkish Foreign Policy Institute in Ankara wrote:
    During the Arab-Israeli war of 1973, Moscow’s overflights of Turkish airspace were tolerated. On the other hand, during the same Middle East conflict, Turkey refused to allow the United States refueling and reconnaissance facilities during the American airlift to Israel. (Karaosmanoglu, "Turkey’s Security and the Middle East," 52 Foreign Affairs 157, 163, Fall 1983.)
  2. In the 1977-78 conflict in Ethiopia, Turkey granted the Soviets military overflight rights to support the pro-Soviet minority of Ethiopian communist insurgents, led by Colonel Mengistu, who eventually prevailed and established a Marxist dictatorship directly dependent upon the Soviet Union. Giant Soviet Antonov-22 transport aircraft ferried Cuban troops, Soviet weapons and other assorted needs to Ethiopia. During the peak months of the conflict (December, 1977—January, 1978), the Soviet Union greatly increased the number of overflights through Turkish airspace with the direct acquiescence of Turkey’s regime. The Soviets ferried in 2,000 Cuban troops by the end of the first week in December. By late December, 17,000 Cuban troops were in Ethiopia. The Cuban troops were immediately moved to the fighting front against Somali and anti-communist Ethiopian forces. They effectively turned the tide in favor of the communists. (C. Meyer, Facing Reality- From World Federalism to the CIA 276-80, 1980.)
  3. Over NATO objections, Turkey allowed three Soviet aircraft carriers, the Kiev on July 18, 1976, the Minsk on February 25, 1979 and the Novorosiisk on May 16, 1983, passage rights through the Bosphorous and Dardanelles Straits into the Mediterranean in violation of the Montreux Convention of 1936. The Soviet ships posed a formidable threat to the U.S. Sixth Fleet.
  4. In 1979 Turkey refused to allow the U.S. to send 69 U.S. marines and six helicopters to American military facilities at Incirlik in Turkey for possible use in evacuating Americans from Iran and protecting the U.S. embassy in Tehran.
  5. Again in 1979 Turkey refused the U.S. request to allow U-2 intelligence flights (for Salt II verification) over Turkish airspace "unless Moscow agreed." (N.Y. Times, May 15, 1979, at A1, col. 3.) This position was voiced over a period of months by Turkish officials, the opposition party and the military Chief of Staff, General Kenan Evren, (See, Washington Post and New York Times, April—September 1979).
  6. In January of 1981, President Carter tried to obtain a commitment from Turkey for the use of Turkish territory for operations in cases of conflict in the Middle East. The January 20, 1981, New York Times reported that Turkey was not in favor of "the United States using Turkish bases for conflicts not affecting Turkey." In the spring, 1983, issue of Foreign Policy magazine, Harry Shaw pointed out that Turkey is unlikely to become involved in, or allow U.S. forces to use Turkish territory in a Middle East war that does not threaten her territory directly.
  7. As an example of the above, in 1980, Turkey refused to permit the U.S. to use the NATO base at Diyarbakir in eastern Turkey as a transit point for the purpose of conducting a rescue mission into Tehran, Iran, to free the American hostages held in that city. The distance from Diyarbakir to Tehran is 450 miles as opposed to the actual route taken, which was over 900 miles.
  8. In May, 1989, Turkey rejected an American request to inspect an advanced MIG-29 Soviet fighter plane, flown by a Soviet defector to Turkey. (New York Times, May 28, 1989, at A12, col.1.)
  9. The Turkish government refused repeated American requests for the installation of antennas in Turkey concerning eleven transmitters whose broadcasts would have been directed primarily at the Soviet Union and its eastern European satellites. As reported in the July 22, 1983, issue of Newsweek, the initiative by the U.S. Department of State sought to improve reception of programs broadcast by Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty, and the Voice of America.
  10. Turkey further damaged NATO by vetoing NATO’s effort to put military bases on various Greek islands in the Aegean for defensive purposes against the Soviet navy.

Turkey- an extortionist state

The Turkish vote on March 1, 2003 was part of the government’s effort to put pressure on the U.S. to increase the amount of economic aid for Turkey’s cooperation from $26 billion to $32 billion. The March 1, 2003 vote had the tacit support of Prime Minister Erdogan and the military.

Why any representative of the U.S. should have been offering $26 billion to Turkey, a NATO ally, for its cooperation defies reason. But that is what Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz did. The U.S. military finally said no to Turkey’s negotiating tactics and invaded Iraq without Turkey’s help.

In the lead New York Times article on February 20, 2003 (at A1; col.6), David E. Sanger and Dexter Filkens reported that Turkey, a NATO ally, is demanding $32 billion for use of Turkish territory by U.S. troops for a second front against Iraq and that the U.S. has offered $26 billion. Turkey's governing party leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the White House's final offer of $26 billion "was not yet good enough and that Parliament would not vote this week on whether to allow the deployment of upwards of 40,000 American troops along the Iraqi border." Messrs. Sanger and Filkens continued:

"Mr. Bush made no public comment about the standoff today....

In private, though, administration officials were fuming, with one senior official calling the Turkish efforts to hold out for more aid—and perhaps access to oil from the Kirkuk region of Iraq—as 'extortion in the name of alliance.' Another said that despite a stream of aid from the United States, 'the Turks seem to think that we'll keep the bazaar open all night.'" (Emphasis added)

Members of Congress and commentators referred to Turkey’s actions as extortion, blackmail, bribery and shakedown.

Turkey, human rights and the Ecumenical Patriarchate

Today there are thousands of political prisoners in jail. There are many journalists in jail. There is and has been a lack of freedom of speech, freedom of the press and religious freedom particularly for the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The Halki Patriarchal School of Theology has been illegally closed since 1971 and church properties are at risk.

On February 28, 2005, the State Department issued its Country Reports on Human Rights Practices- 2004. The Country Report on Turkey is a serious indictment of Turkey’s human rights violations.

On Sunday, March 6, 2005 Turkish riot police "used truncheons and tear gas to break up a group of demonstrators who refused to disperse" during a demonstration marking the upcoming World Women’s Day. "Police were seen in television footage chasing and beating demonstrators with clubs. One female demonstrator was knocked to the ground by police officers, then kicked in the face by another officer. Policemen in gas masks could also be seen spraying tear gas directly onto demonstrators faces." (Washington Post, 3-7-05, A15, col. 1.)

The European Union condemned the "disproportionate force" used to break up the demonstration. (New York Times, 3-8-05, A6, col. 5.)

U.S. action needed

The U.S. in its own self-interest should consider removal of benefits previously granted to Turkey, such as textile quotas, and sanctions if Turkey does not cooperate regarding Cyprus, the Kurds, Armenia and the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

A reassessment should also include:

  1. An analysis of the importance of Greece and Cyprus to U.S. interests in the Balkans and Middle East; and
  2. The importance of Greece and Cyprus to the Israel-Palestine peace process and road map

Mr. President, we urge you to act decisively and change U.S. policy towards Turkey in the interest of the U.S. and give real meaning to your eloquent and high minded inaugural address. Otherwise the world community and historians will consider your words as empty gestures.

Respectfully,

Gene Rossides,
President American Hellenic Institute

Enclosures
cc:     Vice President Richard B. Cheney
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld
Deputy Secretary of State Designate Robert Zoellick
Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz
Chief of Staff Andrew Card
Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove
National Security Adviser Steve Hadley
Under Secretary of State Designate Nicholas Burns
Director of OMB Joshua Bolten,
The Congress