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Leading Republican on Foreign Affairs Committee Offers Critical View of Turkish Policies

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Nick Larigakis
December 14, 2010—No. 84 (202) 785-8430

Leading Republican on Foreign Affairs Committee Offers Critical View of Turkish Policies

Ros-Lehtinen Calls for Immediate Turkish Troop Withdraw from Cyprus, Halki to be Re-opened

WASHINGTON, DC — The American Hellenic Institute (AHI) welcomes U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s (R-FL) critical assessment of Turkish policies in a statement she issued following a meeting with Turkish Ambassador to the U.S. Namik Tan on December 7, 2010.

In her statement, Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen, who is the ranking member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, described the meeting as a “frank discussion about some troubling Turkish policies” that included Turkey’s positions toward Cyprus and the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

“Turkey must fully support a Cypriot solution to reunification of the island and immediately withdraw its troops from northern Cyprus,” she said.

The ranking member also expressed concern about the “restrictive policies” placed on the Ecumenical Patriarchate by the Turkish government.

“I asked that these policies be substantially changed to allow the Church to re-open the Halki Seminary and to remove the restrictive criteria for Patriarchal succession,” she said.

Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen concluded, “These are issues which must be addressed soon if we are to avoid permanent damage to our relationship.”

“AHI has long called for a critical review of U.S. policy toward Turkey and the latter’s fulfillment of the rule of law,” Executive Director Nick Larigakis said.  “We applaud the ranking member’s critical and candid assessment of Turkish policies.  Her calls for the immediate removal of Turkish troops from Cyprus and the re-opening of Halki are in the best interests of the United States and serve to fulfill the rule of law.”

Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen will become the chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs when the 112th Congress convenes in January.

The American Hellenic Institute is a non-profit Greek American public policy center that works to strengthen relations between the United States and Greece and Cyprus, and within the Greek American community.

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For additional information, please contact Nick Larigakis 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.