FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- DECEMBER 24, 1997
GREEK-AMERICAN LEADERS WRITE TO CONGRESSIONAL POLICY-MAKERS
REGARDING U.S. HELICOPTER SALES TO TURKEY
Following yesterday's announcement that the U.S. administration approved
marketing licenses for U.S. defense contractors to bid for sales of up to $5
billion in U.S. attack helicopters to Turkey, Greek-American leaders wrote to
top congressional policy-makers regarding this sale. The administration
indicated that if Turkey chooses an American company (the selection is expected
to take place by 1999) they will consult with the U.S. Congress to determine if
such a sale should be approved.
These leaders told congressional leaders, "Please help the
administration understand that it should begin now pressing the Turkish
government as hard as possible to adhere to today's rules of a civilized world
order. Please tell the administration that in order for the Congress to
consider approval of such a sale to Turkey, the Turkish government must prove
through its actions its respect for human rights, international law and
sovereignty and the non-use of force or threat of force."
These leaders noted that, "Although Turkish officials have been saying
more positive things recently in some of these areas, their actions continue to
violate internationally- accepted standards. For example, the Turkish
government escalated its misuse of U.S.-supplied war planes to overfly Greek
sovereign territory from 73 times in 1995 to 538 times in 1996."
These leaders concluded by saying that, "Unless the Turkish government
shows with its actions that it can behave in accordance with
internationally-accepted standards of civilized conduct, it will not be allowed
to join the European Union, nor should it receive massive amounts of military
support from the U.S. as are being considered. The Turkish government must
understand that its people will be better off in today's world, whether in the
EU or the U.S., because leaders no longer accept the "right" words followed by
the "wrong" actions."
These letters were signed by: Andrew A. Athens, national chairman of the
United Hellenic American Congress (UHAC) who, in another capacity, serves as
president of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE); Philip Christopher,
president of PSEKA and the Pancyprian Association of America; and Andrew E.
Manatos, president of the National Coordinated Effort of Hellenes.
For more information, please contact Mike Manatos (Manatos@interserv.com) at (202) 393-7790.