Letter to The New York Times, February 26, 1997

February 26, 1997

The New York Times
229 West 43rd Street
New York, NY 10036-3959

To the Editor:

Stephen Kinzer’s failure to mention Cyprus in an article purporting to examine the reasons for the EU’s refusal to admit Turkey into its ranks is a troubling omission (2/23 "Turkey Finds European Union Door Slow to Open"). Along with widespread human rights violations and the ethnic cleansing of Kurds, Turkey’s nightmarish 1974 invasion and continuing occupation of the island-nation of Cyprus -- leaving Nicosia the last divided European capitol and among the most highly-militarized areas in the world -- is perhaps the most recurring reason offered by EU ministers for Turkey’s exclusion from Europe.

Turks cry "foul" when not invited to dine with polite company, perceiving that they are discriminated against because they are Muslim, yet not wanting to recognize that it is their atrocious etiquette which keeps them from being seated at the table. Turkey remains as self-righteous and intransigent as ever when addressing its numerous transgressions, because it has never been taken to task for them. Yet it is the State Department, as well as the US media, which bears the lion’s share of the responsibility for Turkey’s attitude. When these issues are treated by our government officials and press they are either marginalized and obscured or explained away in furtherance of some perceived US interest.

The reality is that before even beginning to think about genuine acceptance as an equal partner alongside Western nations, Turkey must first confront a long list of horrors it is responsible for: Turkey’s ongoing denial of the Armenian and Pontian Greek Genocides; its continuing occupation of Cyprus, recent killings of unarmed Cypriot protesters and renewed threats to use military force against NATO-ally Greece and unoccupied Cyprus; its newfound challenges to the sovereignty of Greek territory such as the Aegean islands of Gavdos and Imia; its ethnic cleansing of over a million Kurds from rural areas in Turkish Kurdistan; its ongoing repression of the dwindling Greek and Armenian minorities of Asia Minor; and its widespread human rights violations against its own citizens and intelligentsia.

Rather than focusing his article on concerns of whether Erbakan and Turkey will continue to, at least openly, espouse a "pro-Western" foreign policy, perhaps Mr. Kinzer should have focused on concerns regarding the propriety of the US’s, Europe’s and Israel’s vehement support of a nation which stands so decidedly against the very values which the West purports to stand for.

Very truly yours,

P. D. Spyropoulos, Esq.

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