April 26, 1998
RE: "HELLENIC HAVEN" BY MASSIMO CALABRESI, 3/30/98
To the Editor:
Rather than viewing the freedoms Greece’s democracy guarantees Kurdish refugees as "add[ing] to a cycle of violence and vengeance", it would be fairer to acknowledge that the fundamental rights of free assembly and free speech that Kurds are denied in Turkey but are free to exercise in Greece serve as a humane and useful release valve for a people radicalized by a century of genocidal policies by successive Turkish governments.
According to the State Department between one to three million Kurds have been ethnically cleansed from their ancient homeland through the torching of thousands of Kurdish villages by the Turkish military during the past two decades. If the fate of the now extinguished Greek and Armenian minorities of Asia Minor are any indicator, the Kurds do not have much longer unless their struggle for self-determination is successful.
The third largest recipient of U.S. aid, American taxpayers have supplied 85% of Turkey’s arms imports and have lavished it with 7 billion dollars since 1980. Human rights organizations have criticized our government for selling devastating state-of-the-art weapons systems to Turkey that are being used against Kurdish civilians, such as the Army Tactical Missile System. That the Greek Government refuses to become an accomplice to Turkey’s repressive policies against its Kurdish minority is not so much a shortcoming as a testimonial to common decency.
Very truly yours,
P. D. Spyropoulos, Esq.