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Washington Times 04/24/07

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Hellenic Electronic Center
with 35,000 Hellenes and 34 Hellenic Organizations
as Associated Members in the US and abroad
www.greece.org April 26, 2007

In response to James Morrison's question, "Who Lost Turkey?", the historical facts speak for themselves. The crumbling Ottoman Empire sided with Germany during the First World War, while its successor, Turkey, failed to uphold her obligation (under the Balkan Pact of 1934) to assist Greece in the event of attack by Axis Powers, by sitting out the whole of the Second World War. An estimated 4 million Christian Armenians, Assyrians and Greeks perished as the result of Turkey's policies against her Christian subjects. Following the burning of Christian Smyrna by Turkish nationalist forces in September 1922, Admiral Bristol's pro-Turkish reports suppressed the facts surrounding the genocidal slaughter of Smyrna's Greek and Armenian Christians. The American government's silence regarding atrocities committed against Turkey’s Christians contributes to the very problem. The Menderes government’s anti-Greek pogroms of 1955, resulting in a kristallnacht which left the entire Greek Orthodox community of Constantinople homeless in a single night, desecration of Orthodox Churches, rapes and beatings of Greeks and the murder of Greek Orthodox priests, did not even evoke a protest from the United States or NATO. Furthermore, the Turkish invasions of 1974, which resulted in the ethnic cleansing of 200,000 Greeks and the ongoing violation of the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus, have not led to sanctions against the Turkish aggressor. Despite overwhelming evidence of State-sponsored terrorism in Turkish-occupied Cyprus, the United States overlooks Turkey's abuses. The rise of Islamic fundamentalism, anti-Semitism, and anti-Americanism in Turkey results from eighty years of appeasement of Turkey, dating to the disastrous policies of the American High Commissioner at Constantinople, Admiral Mark Bristol. The loss of Turkey is an established reality at this time. Hence the United States must curb its dependence on Turkey, and establish its long-term security interests around Greece and Cyprus which remain bastions of democracy and stability. The termination of the Turkish occupation of Cyprus is crucial to both the security of the United States and Israel in order to curb the power and growing influence of Islamic Turkey. It is time to acknowledge that appeasement of Turkey at the expense of Christian lives in Asia Minor and Constantinople as well of Greek Cypriots, who continue to suffer the effects of conquest and occupation, has been disastrous for all save Turkish nationalists and Islamic extremists.

Theodore G. Karakostas
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Member of HEC Executive Council

Whashington Times

Who's losing Turkey? With Iranian nukes, Iraqi chaos, Kurdish separatism, vast pipeline projects, a stalled European Union application, Cyprus and the global rise of militant Islam, Turkish officials should have plenty to talk about. But a delegation of top Turkish lawmakers in Washington this week devoted an hourlong interview with our correspondent David R. Sands to an entirely separate topic: a pending U.S. congressional resolution condemning the treatment of Armenians nearly a century ago by the Ottoman Empire as "genocide." "It is already a difficult time, but I can safely predict there would be very serious effects [to U.S.-Turkish relations] if this resolution passes," warned Mehmet Dulger, a member of the ruling Justice and Development Party and chairman of the Grand National Assembly's foreign affairs committee. Onur Oymen, a former top Foreign Ministry official now serving as an opposition lawmaker, noted that favorable attitudes in Turkey toward the United States have plummeted to single digits since the start of the Iraq war in 2003. "The political situation for good relations with the United States is really close to untenable," he said. "If there is another blow, such as this resolution, it will be so much more difficult to recuperate." In a long-running, bitter diplomatic war, Armenians have pressed countries to condemn as genocide the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Armenians in the former Ottoman-Turkish Empire in 1915. Rival studies put the death toll at anywhere from 200,000 to 1.8 million, and basic events and documents from the time are still bitterly contested. The Democratic takeover of the U.S. Congress has given hopes to Armenian-American groups that a new, nonbinding genocide resolution could pass this session, despite sharp opposition from the Bush administration. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, is on record in support of the motion. Erol Aslan Cebeci, a lawmaker with the governing Justice and Development Party, noted that Turkey faces a presidential vote next month and new parliamentary elections in November. He said Turkish politicians will be forced by voter outrage to respond "disproportionately" to a U.S. resolution, even if the reaction harms both countries' long-term interests. "Let's be frank: If Senegal or Bolivia were doing this, we could live with it," Mr. Cebeci said. "But this is supposedly our best and most important ally. If, God forbid, this passes, the next big debate you will be having in Washington is, 'Who lost Turkey?' "
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