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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Georgea Polizos
December 6, 2016—No. 57 (202) 785-8430

AHI Releases Letter to 60 Minutes Refuting Importance of Turkey’s Air Bases

WASHINGTON, DC —The American Hellenic Institute wrote to 60 Minutes following Correspondent Steve Kroft’s November 20, 2016 report, “Turkey’s disillusionment with the U.S.,” which described Turkey’s air bases, namely Incirlik, as having extreme importance to the United States and NATO for its staging areas and projection of power in the region

AHI President Nick Larigakis’ November 22 letter presents how the facts prove otherwise by citing how Turkey refused to allow the United States to use its bases to open a northern front against the Saddam Hussein dictatorship.  “The United States’ successful prosecution of the war against Iraq without access from Turkey proved Turkey’s limited value as a strategic military resource,” Larigakis wrote.

Furthermore, Larigakis states that when Turkey does allow access, such as was the case with the fight against ISIS, it does so only after it stalls.  

The American Hellenic Institute is a non-profit Greek American public policy center and think tank 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 Georgea Polizos at (202) 785-8430 or at [email protected]. For general information about the activities of AHI, please see our website at http://www.ahiworld.org.


 

November 22, 2016

Mr. Michael H. Gavshon
Mr. Howard L. Rosenberg
Mr. David M. Levine
Producers
60 Minutes
CBS News
524 West 57th Street
New York, NY 10019

Dear Mr. Gavshon, Mr. Rosenberg, and Mr. Levine:

Correspondent Steve Kroft’s report, “Turkey's disillusionment with the U.S. President” described Turkey’s air bases, namely Incirlik, as having extreme importance to the United States and NATO for its staging areas and projection of power in the region. The facts of the matter prove otherwise.  Turkey refused to allow the United States to use its bases to open a northern front against the Saddam Hussein dictatorship.  Turkey’s reasoning was that it wanted $6 billion more -- in addition to $26 billion offered by the Bush Administration -- for a total of $32 billion.  A former Bush administration official called Turkey’s negotiating tactics “extortion in the name of alliance.” (New York Times, Feb. 20, 2003; A1; col. 6.) The United States’ successful prosecution of the war against Iraq without access from Turkey proved Turkey’s limited value as a strategic military resource.  

Further, almost on a daily basis, Turkey violates the sovereign territory (air and sea) of neighboring NATO ally, Greece.  And 43 years later continues to illegally occupy Cyprus, an EU country.

Moreover, when Turkey does allow access, it stalls.  

In 2015, U.S. Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper, when asked if he was optimistic that Turkey would become “more engaged” in the fight against ISIS, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee, “No, I’m not. I think Turkey has other priorities and other interests.”

Turkey serves to destabilize the region and not to project U.S. interests in the vitally important region of the Eastern Mediterranean.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Nick Larigakis
President  

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For additional information, please contact Georgea Polizos at (202) 785-8430 or at [email protected] For general information about the activities of AHI, please see our website at http://www.ahiworld.org and follow us on Twitter @TheAHIinDC.