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The New York Times 06/23/2008

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Letter submitted to the New York Times in response to article "The Muck of the Irish "

Hellenic Electronic Center (HEC)

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June 23, 2008

The following letter in response to Roger Cohen's "The EU in an Irish bog" makes the outrageous assertion that Turkish membership in the European Union would bridge the Muslim and Christian worlds. This is a historical and politically inaccurate assessment. The Turkish government is murderous and tyrannical, notwithstanding the myth of Turkish moderation promoted by Western Statesmen dating back to British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. Western support for Turkey is based on alleged strategic and economic factors pertaining to the Middle East and

Central Asia, hence the role as passive observers by the United States, Great Britain, France, and Italy at the harbors of Smyrna in 1922 when the murderous henchmen of Mustafa Kemal slaughtered the Greek and Armenian Christian populations.

The strategic position that the Turkish military dictatorship and its Ottoman forebears have enjoyed is something that Hitler, Lenin, and Mussolini all would have envied since the democracies of the West have sold their souls and their humanitarian principles to embrace a variety of Turkish rulers complicit in the genocide and ethnic cleansing of their Christian populations. The Greek Orthodox minority of Constantinople has been brought to near extinction as a result of the extermination of the Asia Minor Greeks under the Young Turks and Mustafa Kemal, and the subsequent pogroms and campaigns of terror that Turkish leaders with the full tolerance of the NATO alliance perpetrated against them. Western journalists and political leaders demand action against all regimes designated as being "rogue" but Turkey with its long trail of bloody misrule over its Christian populations has received the praise of Westerners who have turned their back on the suffering minorities of Asia Minor and Constantinople.

Mr. Cohen demands EU membership for Turkey while the Turkish military simultaneously occupies the sovereign territory of the Republic of Cyprus. Turkey has refused to recognize the government of Cyprus despite the fact that the Republic of

Cyprus is a member of the European Union, and has refused to open its ports to Cypriot ships despite EU demands to do so. It is the attitude of Mr. Cohen, which is shared by many American and European officials which enables Turkey to perpetrate its continued crimes against humanity. Turkey is a pariah State, and is not worthy of entering the European Union or having other honors extended to its murderous ruling coalition of Islamic zealots and tyrannical Generals.


Theodore G. Karakostas This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Member of HEC Executive Committee



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The Muck of the Irish



Published: June 19, 2008




Europeans have spent a lot of time in recent years asking Americans how they could be dumb enough to make the same mistake twice in electing George W. Bush. But when it comes to sheer electoral crassness, it’s hard to beat what the Irish have just done.

I can’t think of a country that’s benefited from European Union membership more than Ireland. It has catapulted itself in a few decades from beer-soaked backwater to the Celtic Tiger whose growth rates, foreign investment and rags-to-riches story were the envy of every languishing small nation with a thirst for a makeover.

Enormous E.U. farm subsidies, access for foreign investors to the E.U. market, and the liberation from a Britain complex afforded by new European horizons all contributed to the rebranding of Ireland. Dublin was suddenly hip; the peat bogs were passé. No wonder the Irish adopted the euro with élan while the British shrunk from “the Continent” and stuck with sterling.

Yet here we have the Irish, in a fit of Euro-bashing pique worthy of the worst of little-Englandism, rejecting the renegotiated Lisbon treaty essential for the functioning of an expanded 27-member E.U. Biting the hand that feeds you does not begin to describe this act of bloody-mindedness.

The Lisbon Treaty is essential. It alone can create a streamlined decision-making mechanism for a 27-member union. It alone can forge the meaningful presidency and foreign-affairs posts that will give the E.U. the increased political clout that its economic weight demands. At a time of flux in global power, with the United States overextended and China and India emergent, Europe needs coherence to count.

I know, the Irish, like the rest of us, were looking for someone to blame for soaring gas prices and food inflation and unresponsive politicians and new economic pressures, and what better opportunity than a referendum on a still impenetrable E.U. treaty that was once billed as a “constitution” and is now the downsized nightmare of every Brussels bureaucrat?

Still, what the Irish did was unconscionable. It makes me despair of a Europe that should be proud of what it’s achieved in absorbing the freed former vassal-nations of the Soviet Union in Central Europe. But instead of rejoicing at a Europe “whole and free,” Europeans have been in a funk of which the Irish “No” is the latest expression.

Yes, it’s more complicated running a 27-member E.U. than a cozy 12-member club. Yes, Polish plumbers might show up in Western Europe and take a job or two. Yes, European institutions can seem remote. But measured on any sensible historical scale, the pettiness of Europeans confronted by the need to reform a post-Berlin-Wall E.U. has been mind-boggling.

Who cares about Yalta or the Gulag when you can rail at some Brussels functionary trying to regulate the contents of beer or the permissible curve in a banana?

It’s been interesting watching this European drama from Turkey, a country that has been on the European Union membership waiting list for close to a half-century, and has become disillusioned with the whole process. Enthusiasm has given way to almost universal mistrust of European intentions.

The fact that the French agriculture minister, Michel Barnier, said the Irish referendum showed that Europeans were afraid of an E.U. “without borders and limits” was immediately noted. Nobody here has any illusions about what a planned French referendum on Turkish membership would mean. The French Euro-funk is just as acute as the Irish.

Of course, there have been reassuring noises from some E.U. officials about the so-called enlargement process, but Hans-Gert Pöttering, the president of the European Parliament, was probably the most honest in declaring that the Irish “No” meant further expansion was impossible, with the possible exception of Croatia.

All this is wrongheaded. Turkish membership of the E.U. is important — Bush is right about that — for historical reasons as overarching as Europe’s debt to the nations Yalta imprisoned. No more important bridge could be forged at this moment between the Christian and Muslim worlds. A commitment was made back in the 1960s. It should be honored.

Europe needs to get over its funk. To come into force, the treaty requires ratification by all member states. Others must now proceed with the ratification process. E.U. history is full of acts of ingenuity that have kept the Euro bicycle from toppling. The months ahead should be used to find one to deal with the ungrateful Irish.

Failing that, the Turks could hardly be blamed for turning away from a Europe beset by institutional paralysis and a Lilliputian view of history. I suspect other nations would do the same because it would be clear that the idea of a political Europe is dead, replaced by the narrow insularity the Irish just demonstrated.

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