Please find below a letter from the American Hellenic Media Project as published by The Washington Times:


Saturday, September 26, 1998

Page C2


Differing opinions on stabilizing Turkey

Jennifer Washburn's Op-Ed piece ["Are we aiding Turkish repression?", 9/14/98] was a welcome reality-check in a media environment all too eager to follow our government's lead in tolerating Turkey's atrocities against its own citizens.

Yet Cyprus should serve as a tragic reminder that Turkey's human rights abuses do not stop at its own borders. Turkish troops killed thousands during their 1974 invasion of Cyprus and ethnically cleansed 200,000 of the island's indigenous Greek majority from almost 40 percent of the island's territory. Turkey's regime continues to victimize the few remaining Greek Cypriots enclaved under hostile conditions. During Turkey's recent offensives into Iraq, human rights organizations have repeatedly documented the use of American-made weapons against Kurdish civilians.

Turkey serves as a case in point for enforcing legislation aimed at stopping arms sales to repressive regimes for yet another reason: Governments that do not respect the rights of their own citizens are even less likely to respect the rights of others. Limiting arms sales would deter further aggression by transnational predators such as Turkey against neighboring democracies such as Greece and Cyprus.

Although the European Union has flatly rejected Turkey's recent claims to Greek islands, the State Department and the media have opted to look the other way and place the claims of both countries on equal footing. Worse, the U.S. government has now condoned airstrikes by Turkey's mammoth military machine against Cyprus. This shortsighted policy of appeasement has served to undermine international law and encourage Turkey's imperial aspirations in a region of the world that has little tolerance for such instability.

American Hellenic Media Project
New York