Letter to Time, April 26, 1998

April 26, 1998

Time & Life Building
Rockefeller Center
New York, NY 10020-1393

To the Editor:

Your March 30th report, "A Hellenic Haven", need not have reached as far back as the nineteenth century’s Greek War of Independence to explain the solidarity Greeks feel for the Kurdish uprising against Turkish domination.

As a result of government-sponsored pogroms and discriminatory laws, what was once left of Turkey’s ancient Greek community, estimated at 250,000 in 1950 and one that had survived genocide during the early part of this century, has now dwindled to less than 2,000.

Turkey continues to occupy the northern half of the island-nation of Cyprus after having ethnically cleansed 250,000 Greek Cypriots during Ankara’s nightmarish 1974 invasion. A Turkish official recently revealed with horrifying nonchalance that the almost 2,000 Cypriots who have been listed as missing had been summarily executed by Turkish forces while in their custody. The killings of unarmed Greek Cypriots by Turkish occupying forces, sometimes within plain view of journalists (e.g. www.hri.org/Cyprus/Cyprus_Problem/bikers/murder_1.html & /murder_2.html showing videotape footage of two such killings), further underscores the often deadly repression ethnic Greeks continue to be subjected to. Turkey, with the largest standing army in NATO after the US, has recently threatened to use military force against Greece and Cyprus on numerous occasions and has asserted new claims to Greek territory, such as the Aegean islands of Gavdos and Imia, while routinely violating Greek air space and territorial waters.

Charges by the Turkish Government that "Greece is aiding and abetting" a terrorist organization are absurd; not so much, as your article correctly points out, because "there's no hard evidence substantiating such accusations" of Greek complicity in PKK operations, but because Turkey itself has made it a state policy to directly employ terrorists to effect its agendas of terror both domestically as well as in Greece and Cyprus.

The two videotaped murders referenced above directly resulted from the Turkish Prime Minister’s deliberate importation into Cyprus of hundreds of militants from the right-wing terrorist organization the Grey Wolves to attack foreign and Cypriot activists in order to ensure bloodshed during a 1996 protest. In February a shocking internal investigation ordered by Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz was leaked to the press revealing that Turkey spent $50 million between 1993 and 1996 using drug dealers, assassins and terrorists to murder journalists, prominent Kurds and other dissidents, and to further export its reign of terror abroad. Another classified report from the PM’s office was discovered this month revealing that Turkish secret service agents were behind a series of forest fires and bombings throughout Greece in recent years, including arsons that broke out in Greek islands and tourist resorts.

Very truly yours,

P. D. Spyropoulos, Esq.

Editor's Response via e-mail, April 27, 1998

Thank you for your comments. Your letter will be read by several editors.

Should your remarks be selected for publication, you will be notified in advance of the issue date.  Meanwhile, our thanks, again, for taking the time to write to us.

Amy Musher
Chief, TIME Letters

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