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Op-Ed: State Department’s Web Info on Turkey False and Misleading
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: GEORGIA ECONOMOU
February 27, 2008—No. 14 (202) 785-8430

Op-Ed: State Department’s Web Info on Turkey False and Misleading

Washington, DC—The following Op-Ed appeared in the National Herald, 2-23-08 page 11, and in the Greek News 2-25-08 page 44 and will appear in theHellenic Voice on 3-5-08.

State’s Web Info on Turkey False and Misleading

By Gene Rossides

February 20, 2008

The State Department’s website “Background Note: Turkey” is false and misleading with serious errors of fact and omissions. It amounts to a deliberate attempt to rewrite history and to cover-up (1) Turkey’s significant aid to Nazi Germany in World War II, and (2) Turkey’s cooperation with and assistance to the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

And since the end of the Cold War in 1991, Turkey has not been a reliable ally to the U.S. Further, Turkey is a key part of the problem in its region and not the solution to the region’s problem.

Ted Galen Carpenter, vice president for defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute in Washington D.C., one of the leading analysts in the U.S., stated at an American Hellenic Institute noon forum on U.S.–Turkey relations on November 13, 2007 that “the conventional wisdom in American foreign policy circles regarding Turkey…is partially false or totally false.”

Mr. Carpenter demonstrated in his remarks that (1) Turkey is not a loyal ally of the U.S.; (2) that Turkey is not a force for stability in the Middle East and Central Asia; (3) that Turkey is not basically a Western secular country; and (4) that Turkey is not a good candidate that should be admitted to the EU in the near future. See AHI’s Web site: www.ahiworld.org.

Turkey and World War II

The Background Note on Turkey states: “Turkey entered World War II on the Allied side until shortly before the war ended.” The facts are that Turkey violated its treaty with Britain and France to enter the war when Mussolini invaded Greece and remained “neutral,” and profited from both sides. In the final weeks of the war in 1945, Turkey entered the war on the Allied side so as to be at the table in post-war conferences. See F. Weber, The Evasive Neutral 44 (1979).

Turkey’s failure to adhere to its treaty with Britain and France is not the worst part of its conduct. Turkey supported Nazi Germany and actually supplied Hitler with chromium, a vital resource for Nazi Germany’s armaments industry and war effort.

Hitler’s armaments chief, Albert Speer, provided Hitler a memorandum in November in 1943 on “Alloys in Armaments Production and the Importance of Chromium Imports from the Balkans and Turkey,” which stated that the loss of chromium supplies from Turkey would end the war in about ten months. See A.Speer, Inside the Third Reich 316-17, 405,550 n.10 (1970).

If Turkey had stopped chromium exports to Nazi Germany in November 1943, World War II could have ended ten months later in September 1944, instead of April 1945, an additional seven months. In effect, Turkey’s support of Hitler makes Turkey responsible for the deaths of all Allied soldiers and concentration camp victims in the last seven months of the war in Europe from September 1944 to April 1945.

Turkey’s Cooperation with U.S.S.R. during the Cold War

State’s Background Note refers to Turkey’s NATO membership in 1952 and that Turkey “serves as the organization’s vital eastern anchor, controlling the straits leading from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean and sharing a border with Syria, Iraq, and Iran.”

First, to refer to Turkey as “vital” is in error and false. NATO and the U.S. can do without Turkey as a strategic ally, as the U.S. proved in its “Operation Iraqi Freedom” when Turkey refused to allow the U.S. to use Turkish facilities to open a second front against Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship. And Turkey was never “vital” during the Cold War regarding the Soviet Union.

Secondly, the Background Note fails to disclose the several examples during the Cold War when Turkey actively aided the Soviet military to the detriment of NATO and the U.S. It further fails to state that Turkey “conciliated and normalized” its relations with the Soviets as long ago as 1974.

Turkey’s actions these past decades demonstrates that she is an unreliable ally who has collaborated with the Soviet Union militarily. As long ago as 1974, the noted strategic analyst Edward Luttwak wrote:

“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 specific 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 effort is not enough to counteract Russian suasion, especially since the coercion is latent and packaged in a benevolent, diplomatic stance.” E. Luttwak, Th POLITICAL USES OF SEA POWER 60-61 (1974).

Examples of Turkey’s unreliability for United States 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 USSR 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 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 AFF. 157, 163 (Fall 1983).
  2. In the 1977-1978 conflict in Ethiopia, Turkey granted the Soviets military overflight rights to supply the pro-Soviet Ethiopian communists under Col. Mengistu, who eventually prevailed. C.MEYER, FACING REALITY-FROM WORLD FEDERALISM TO THE CIA 276-80 (1980).
  3. Over NATO objections, Turkey has allowed to date three Soviet aircraft carriers, the Kiev on July 18, 1976, the Minsk on Feb. 25, 1979 and theNovorosiisk on May 16, 1983, passage rights through the Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits into the Mediterranean in violation of the Montreux Convention of 1936. See generally Wash. Post, July 19, 1976, at A16, col.1; N.Y.Times, Feb. 26, 1979, at A13, col. 1. The Soviet Ships posed a formidable threat to the United States Sixth Fleet.
  4. In 1979 Turkey refused to allow the United States to send 69 marines and six helicopters to American military facilities at Incirlik in Turkey for possible use in evacuating Americans from Iran. N.Y.Times, Feb. 13, 1979, at A8, col.3.
  5. Again, in 1979 Turkey refused to allow the United States 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, Gen. Kenan Evren.
  6. In May, 1989, Turkey rejected an American request to inspect an advanced MIG-29 Soviet fighter plane, flown by a Soviet defector to Turkey. N.Y. Times, May 28, 1989, at A12, col.1.
  7. The Turkish government refused repeated American requests for the installation of antennas in Turkey concerning 11 transmitters whose broadcasts would have been directed primarily to the Soviet Union and its eastern European satellites. The initiative by the United States Department of State sought to improve reception of programs broadcast by Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty, and the Voice of America.
  8. 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.

How can a Background Note on Turkey not mention Turkey’s invasion and aggression against Cyprus and armed occupation of 36 percent of Cyprus now in its 35th year, and the ethnic cleansing of 170,000 Greek Cypriots by aggression?

How can a Background Note on Turkey not mention the European Commission on Human Rights report of July 10, 1976, in which the Commission found Turkey guilty of violating the following articles of the European Convention on Human Rights:

Article 2—by the killing of innocent civilians committed on a substantial scale; Article 3—by the rape of women of all ages from 12 to 71; Article 3—by inhuman treatment of prisoners and persons detained ; Article 5—by deprivation of liberty with regard to detainees and missing persons—a continuing violation; Article 8—by displacement of persons creating more than 170, 000 Greek Cypriot refugees—ethnic cleansing to return to their homes—a continuing violation; (6) Article 1 of the First Protocol to the Convention—by deprivation of possessions, looting and robbery on an extensive scale.

On January 23, 1977. the London Sunday Times published excerpts of the report and stated : “It amounts to a massive indictment of the Ankara government for the murder, rape and looting by its army in Cyprus during and after the Turkish invasion of 1974.”

Turkey and the Kurds

How can a Background note on Turkey not mention Turkey’s ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity and genocide by Turkey against its 20 percent Kurdish minority of 15 million, in which Turkey’s military, starting in 1984 burned 3000 Kurdish villages, creating 3,000,000 Kurdish refugees and killed 30,000 innocent Kurdish civilians and 5,000 members of the P.K.K. See Eric Rouleau, “Turkey’s Dream of Democracy,” Foreign Affairs 100-114 (Nov./Dec.2000), and Chicago Tribune, and other newspapers, the Associated Press and other news services.

Turkey and Religious Freedom

How can a Background Note on Turkey not mention Turkey’s horrendous violations of religious freedom and that Turkey is one of the leading anti-Christian and anti-Semitic nations in the world?

The State Department is in violation of U.S. laws, the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, in regard to violation of the religious freedom of the Eastern Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarchate and the illegal closing of the Halki Theological School of Theology in 1971. Under the Act, the President, must oppose violations of Religious Freedom in any country whose government “engages in or tolerates violations of religious freedom.”

The President is required to take one or more of fifteen enumerated actions with respect to any such country. Neither President Bush or Secretary Rice have taken any such actions in response to Turkey’s notorious anti-Christian and anti-Semitic actions.

The State Department’s website is proof positive of a pro-Turkish bias and the application of a double standard on the rule of law for Turkey and blatant appeasement of Turkey to the detriment of U.S. interests in the region and worldwide.

There are a number of other inaccuracies and omissions in State’s web on Turkey. Readers should write and call Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and request that she correct the information on State’s website on Turkey.

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For additional information, please contact Nick Larigakis at (202) 785-8430 or pr@ahiworld.org. For general information regarding the activities of AHI, please view our Web site at http://www.ahiworld.org.