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AHI Welcomes Lawmakers’ Effort to Block Arms Sale to Turkey
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Demetra Atsaloglou
November 8, 2011—No. 76 (202) 785-8430

AHI Welcomes Lawmakers’ Effort to Block Arms Sale to Turkey

Reps. Berkley, Engel Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Freeze $111 Million Sale—Time Sensitive Action on Bill Required

WASHINGTON, DC — The American Hellenic Institute (AHI) welcomes the effort of congressional lawmakers to block the sale of U.S. arms to Turkey with the introduction of joint resolution that disapproves of the issuance of an offer letter for the proposed $111 million sale of the arms.

“The American Hellenic Institute has long opposed military assistance to Turkey in testimony submitted before Congress,” AHI President Nick Larigakis said. “The flow of U.S. arms to Turkey only emboldens Turkey’s intransigent stance when it comes to finding a diplomatic settlement to the Cyprus issue and further encourages its bellicose threats against U.S. allies Cyprus, Greece, Israel and Armenia. AHI applauds the lawmakers’ effort to block this most recent proposed sale of U.S. arms to Turkey.”

He continued, “Turkey’s aggressive behavior in the region is well-documented, ranging from airspace violations of Greece, to its invasion and occupation of Cyprus with 40,000-plus troops to its sabre-rattling rhetoric as Cyprus and Israel explore for gas and oil. The Obama Administration’s pushing of this arms sale during a time when Turkey is acting belligerently in the eastern Mediterranean and threating U.S. allies is unacceptable and downright irresponsible and disappointing.”

U.S. Reps. Shelley Berkley (D-NV) and Eliot Engel (D-NY), a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, sponsored the legislation, H.J.Res.83, which was introduced November 3, 2011. It has the bipartisan support of initial co-sponsors: U.S. Reps. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and Carolyn Maloney, co-chairs of the Hellenic Caucus; Michael Grimm (R-NY), Frank Pallone (D-NJ), and Ed Royce (R-CA), a House Foreign Affairs Committee member. U.S. Reps. Steve Israel (D-NY) and Jim McGovern (D-MA) have since co-sponsored the legislation.

In a joint statement issued by U.S. Reps. Berkley and Engel, “The $111 million arms sale to Turkey proposed by the Obama Administration late last month would include AH-1W Super Cobra Attack Helicopters, engines, spare parts, training equipment, technical documentation and support services.”

According to the joint statement, the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) mandates that the Administration must notify Congress 15 days before selling arms to a NATO ally such as Turkey, if the sale is $50 million or more.  After 15 days, the sale can be finalized, unless Congress passes legislation prohibiting or modifying the proposed sale.

Immediate Action Required

The Administration notified Congress about the proposed arms sale on October 28, 2011, meaning the Congress would have to pass H.J.Res.83 within 15 calendar days (by November 12, 2011) .

“Unfortunately, given the fifteen-day timeframe provided by the Arms Export Control Act, and the amount of time needed to draft and introduce H.J.Res.83, there is less than a week available to enact this bill,” said Larigakis. “Nevertheless, every effort should be made to contact U.S. representative to co-sponsor H.J.Res.83, and we encourage the community to do so in order to—at the very least—create awareness of this pending arms sale.”

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 Demetra Atsaloglou at (202) 785-8430 or at pr@ahiworld.org. For general information about the activities of AHI, please see our website at http://www.ahiworld.org.