American Hellenic Institute

AHI Calendar

 

2017golf illustration

Facebook Image
AHI Executive Director Nick Larigakis Testifies Opposing $10 Million in Aid to Turkey and $20 Million in Aid to Cyprus as not in the best interest of the U.S.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: C. Franciscos Economides
April 15, 2005—No.30 (202) 785-8430

AHI Executive Director Nick Larigakis Testifies Opposing $10 Million in Aid to Turkey and $20 Million in Aid to Cyprus as not in the best interest of the U.S.

WASHINGTON, DC—On April 14, 2005, the American Hellenic Institute's (AHI) Executive Director Nick Larigakis presented testimony on behalf of AHI and the Hellenic American National Council (HANC) before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, Financing and Related Programs. The testimony opposed the $10 million aid to Turkey and the $20 million for Cyprus as not in the best interests of the U.S.

In the best interests of the United States, AHI opposed all military and economic aid to Turkey in the current bill because it is not conditioned on Turkey meeting the following conditions:

  1. The immediate removal of all occupying troops from Cyprus;
  2. The prompt return to Turkey of the over 110,000 illegal settlers from Cyprus;
  3. The Turkish government safeguarding the Ecumenical Patriarchate, its personnel and property, reopening the Halki Patriarchal School of Theology; and returning church properties illegally seized; and
  4. Stops the violations against Greece’s territorial integrity in the Aegean and in Greek airspace.

AHI opposes the $20 million for Cyprus as not in the best interests of the U.S. because it is not tied exclusively to joint Greek and Turkish Cypriot communal projects. The project services proposed do not serve the U.S. objective for reunification, on the contrary, some of these projects upgrade the illegal regime in the north, thereby furthering the division of the island.

AHI would support the $20 million aid for Cyprus if there is a full transparency and accountability in the use of the aid and the allocation of the funds is for joint communal projects.

Please find the full text of the testimony below:

Testimony of Nick Larigakis

Executive Director, American Hellenic Institute on behalf of the American Hellenic Institute, Inc., and The Hellenic American National Council, before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, Export Financing and Related Programs

April 14, 2005

Chairman Kolbe, Ranking Member Lowey and Members of the Subcommittee:

I am pleased to present testimony to the Subcommittee on behalf of the nation-wide membership of the American Hellenic Institute and the Hellenic American National Council on the Administration’s foreign aid proposals.

We oppose the $10 million for Turkey as not in the best interests of the U.S. because it is not conditioned on Turkey meeting the following conditions:

  1. The immediate removal of all occupying troops from Cyprus;
  2. The prompt return to Turkey of the over 110,000 illegal settlers from Cyprus;
  3. The Turkish government safeguarding the Ecumenical Patriarchate, its personnel and property, reopens the Halki Patriarchal School of Theology; and returns church properties illegally seized; and
  4. Stops the violations against Greece’s territorial integrity in the Aegean and in Greek airspace.

We oppose the $20 million for Cyprus as not in the best interests of the U.S. because it is not tied exclusively to joint Greek and Turkish Cypriot communal projects.

United States Interests in Southeast Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean

The U.S. has important interests in Southeast Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean. To the North of Greece are the Balkans, Eastern Europe and Russia, to the East the Middle East and to the South are North Africa and the Suez Canal. Significant communication links for commerce and energy sources pass through the region. The projection of U.S. interests in the region depends heavily on the stability of the region. Therefore, the U.S. has an important stake in fostering good relations between two NATO allies, Greece and Turkey and in achieving a just and viable settlement of the Cyprus problem.

A key to stability in the region is for Greece and Turkey to have good relations with each other, promote democratic ideals and principles, and maintain growing economies. However, Turkey’s continuing occupation of Cyprus, its intransigence in solving the Cyprus problem, its refusal to recognize Cyprus as a member of the European Union, its continuing violations of Greece’s territorial integrity, and on going human rights violations in Turkey, threatens and prevents this stability, and by extension U.S. interests.

In promoting a multilateral approach to diplomacy and foreign policy, the U.S should look to Greece as an immensely valuable link in this region. With its close cultural, political and economic ties to the Mediterranean countries, Western Europe, the Balkans, Eastern Europe and the Middle East, Greece is an ideal partner for the U.S. with regard to diplomatic relations with countries from these regions.

This sentiment was expressed as recently as March 24, 2005, by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, when after meeting with Greek Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis, she stated that, "…the Balkans, a place in which we believe great progress has been made but, of course, there are many challenges yet to meet. …we have no better friend in these challenges than our friends in Greece." In reference to Kosovo and Greece’s role there, Dr. Rice said, "We believe that this is an area that is ripe for cooperation between Greece and the United States…" And finally on the issue of the Middle East and Greece’s role, the Secretary of State said, "…Greece has an important role with us to play in helping the Palestinian people develop institutions…on which a state can be built."

Regarding Cyprus, the many millions of dollars that the U.S. has provided in humanitarian aid during the past 30 years have been extremely important to that country’s economic recovery after the illegal invasion of 1974. Much of that aid during the first two decades of Turkey’s occupation of 37.3 percent of Cyprus was for the rehabilitation of the refugees and direct disaster aid. In the past decade most of the aid was for the many bicommunal projects which supported reunification of the island.

However, since the Republic of Cyprus officially entered the E.U. last year, an argument can be made that she no longer requires U.S. financial assistance. On the contrary, it would seem that the Administration might be more interested in trying to use this aid to apply political leverage, since the aid will "…support activities to strengthen the Turkish Cypriot economy …" as stated in the report language by the Administration in its support for $20 million dollars to Cyprus.

Ever since 76 percent of the Greek Cypriots voted against the undemocratic, unworkable and financially not viable, Annan Plan, the Administration has been openly looking for ways shift the blame on to the Greek Cypriots and find ways to "remove the economic isolationism of the Turkish Cypriots." This is an example of the State Department’s tactics.

I submit to you, Mr. Chairman, that clearly, the economic isolation of the Turkish Cypriots is caused by Turkey’s 35,000 armed occupation forces and the infamous Turkish barbed-wire fence-the Green Line across the face of Cyprus. Remove the illegal Turkish occupation troops and the Green Line and the Turkish Cypriots isolation will vanish!

Projects and programs funded by the US and administered by the United Nations Office of Project Services in Cyprus do not currently serve the stated U.S. objective for reunification. On the contrary, some of these projects upgrade the illegal regime in the north, thereby further reinforcing the division of the island.

Therefore, we do not support the $20 million aid for Cyprus unless there is a full transparency and accountability in the use of the aid and the allocation of the funds is for joint communal projects, which, ultimately also serve the U.S. tax-payer.

Policy Themes

The policy themes advocated by the American Hellenic Institute since its founding in 1974 and reiterated in successive Greek American Policy Statements regarding Southeastern Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean and their relation to U.S. interests and values are:

  • U.S. interests are best served by applying the rule of law in international affairs;
  • U.S. foreign policy should foster and embody U.S. values, including human rights;
  • Greece is a pivotal nation for U.S. interests in Southeast Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean. As such the U.S. should develop a "special relationship" with Greece by expanding and deepening its relationship with Greece through a coordinated program in the political, military, commercial and cultural fields. Greece is a vigorous and stable democracy with a rapidly modernizing economy. Greece is the only regional state that is a member of the EU, NATO and the European Monetary Union (EMU). In 2004 Greece hosted a safe and spectacular Olympic Games. In addition, In January of this year (2005), Greece became a two-year non-permanent member of the UN Security Council and in July 2005 will assume the presidency for one-month. In combination, these factors make Greece a regional force for political stability, democracy-building, economic investment, commercial expertise and a sensible partner for U.S. investment and economic cooperation;
  • Cyprus is an important partner for U.S. strategic interests in the Eastern Mediterranean. The continuing 31 year illegal invasion and occupation of Cyprus by Turkey, a NATO member, U.S. ally and an EU candidate country, must not be tolerated. The U.S. should remain actively engaged in the search for a settlement of the Cyprus problem based on a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation in a sovereign state, incorporating the norms of constitutional democracy, UN resolutions, democratic principles, and EU legal principles and common practices;
  • the U.S. should not apply double standards to Turkey on the rule of law, human rights, and international law; and
  • U.S. interests are best served by supporting ways that will continue to facilitate better relations between Greece and Turkey.

The Main Problems of Concern to Greek Americans

A detailed discussion of the issues facing the U.S., and of particular concern to Greek Americans, is set forth in a copy of the 2005 Greek American Policy Statements, which can be accessed on our AHI Web site: www.ahiworld.org and will be available on April 22, 2005.

These issues include: Cyprus. the Aegean Sea, Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Halki Patriarchal School of Theology, and Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

Finally, in the interest of regional stability and dispute resolution, the U.S. should promote Turkey’s emergence as a fully democratic state able to complete the EU accession process and to participate fully in the economic opportunities presented by the regional climate. This process will require fundamental change in Turkey’s governmental institutions, a significant improvement in its human rights record, the settlement of the Cyprus problem on the terms referred to above and publicly acknowledging the existing boundary in the Aegean Sea between Greece and Turkey established by treaties. Past U.S. policy has not had this effect and needs to be critically reviewed by the Bush Administration and Congress.

Thank you Mr. Chairman.

TABLE OF CONTENTS OF 2005 GREEK AMERICAN POLICY STATEMENTS

(Full text of the Policy Statements will be available on the AHI Web site: www.ahiworld.org on April 22, 2005)

The policies set forth herein are based on the sole question of what is in the best interests of the United States.

Section I POLICY STATEMENTS AND THEMES
Establishing a "Special Relationship" with Greece
The Cyprus Problem
Aegean Sea Boundary
Critical Review of U.S. Policy Toward Turkey Needed
Turkey’s Suppression of the Religious Freedom of the Ecumenical Patriarchate
and Human Rights
Albania
Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
Armenia
Compensation to Turkey’s Victims

Section II LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES
Exhibit 1: Turkey’s Collaboration with the Soviet Military During the Cold War
Exhibit 2: Wall Street Journal February 16, 2005 article, "The Sick Man of
Europe—Again" by Robert L. Pollock, a senior editorial writer (A14; col. 3.)
Exhibit 3: Column titled "Cold Turkey" in The Washington Times, (March 8,
2005, A17; col. 1) by Arnaud de Borchgrave, editor at large of
Washington Times and United Press International.
Exhibit 4: The Annan Plan Needs Serious Changes in the Interests of the U.S.

Please find attached a photograph of AHI Executive Director Nick Larigakis giving Testimony.

###

For additional information, please contact C. Franciscos Economides at (202) 785-8430 or at [email protected]. For general information regarding the activities of AHI, please view our Web site at http://www.ahiworld.org.