ANCA: Armenian/Greek Americans Protest Bill Praising Turkey

Armenian National Committee of America
1711 N Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
Tel. (202) 775-1918
Fax. (202) 775-5648
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PRESS RELEASE
October 30, 2007
Contact: Elizabeth S. Chouldjian
Tel: (202) 775-1918

ARMENIAN AND GREEK AMERICANS PROTEST INTRODUCTION OF
BYRD-SMITH SENATE RESOLUTION COMMENDING TURKEY

— Legislation Praises Turkey for "Constructive
Stabilization Efforts in Northern Iraq"; Ignores
Growing Tensions in U.S.-Turkey Bilateral Ties

WASHINGTON, DC – In a move widely seen as intended to calm Turkish
anger over growing strains in its ties with the United States,
Senators Robert Byrd (D-WV) and Gordon Smith (R-OR) have introduced
legislation which ignores key points of tension in this
relationship and offers unconditional praise to Turkey and its
leaders, reported the Armenian National Committee of America
(ANCA).

"The resolution introduced by Senators Smith and Byrd neither
serves U.S. interests nor advances American values by sugar-coating
Turkey’s record or by ignoring serious tensions in the U.S.-Turkey
bilateral relationship," said American Hellenic Institute Executive
(AHI) Director Nick Laragakis and ANCA Executive Director Aram
Hamparian, in a joint statement issued today. "Any legislation
that the Foreign Relations Committee considers on this issue should
clearly and prominently address Turkey’s threats to invade and
destabilize northern Iraq, its immoral and heavy-handed threats
against the recognition of the Armenian Genocide, military
occupation of Cyprus, continued airspace violations of Greek-
sovereign airspace over the Aegean, blockade of Armenia,
mistreatment of the Kurds, and restrictions on the religious
freedom of the Ecumenical Patriarch and other Christian leaders."

The ANCA and AHI shared their concerns regarding this legislation
today with Members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. In
making the case regarding Turkey’s increasing unreliability, the
ANCA also circulated a recent Los Angeles Times opinion piece by
Graham Fuller, a former Vice-Chairman of the CIA’s National
Intelligence Council, who argued that: "Turkish-American relations
have been deteriorating for years, and the root explanation is
simple and harsh: Washington’s policies are broadly and
fundamentally incompatible with Turkish foreign policy interests in
multiple arenas. No amount of diplomat-speak can conceal or change
that reality."

Introduced on October 29th, S.Res.358 begins by asserting that the
"United States and Turkey share common ideals and a clear vision
for the 21st Century, in which freedom and democracy are the
foundation of peace, prosperity and security." It concludes by
thanking Prime Minister Erdogan for "continued discussions with
officials in the U.S. and Iraq regarding constructive stabilization
efforts in northern Iraq." The resolution makes no mention of
Turkey’s controversial relations with Hamas, its growing ties with
Iran, or its refusal in 2003 to allow U.S. troops to open a
northern front in Iraq.

"It simply makes no sense to thank Turkey for ‘constructive
stabilization efforts’ in Northern Iraq while it is making cross-
border aerial and artillery assaults, amassing troops, and
threatening a full-blown invasion that may very well destabilize
the region and endanger our troops for years to come," said
Hamparian. "Rather than praising Turkey and turning a blind eye to
its threats, the Congress should urge the Administration to explore
ways to free ourselves from Turkey’s blackmail by quickly putting
in place alternate, non-Turkish routes to supply and otherwise
support our regional operations."

The complete text of S.Res.358 is provided below.

#####

SENATE RESOLUTION 358 – EXPRESSING THE IMPORTANCE OF FRIENDSHIP AND
COOPERATION BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND TURKEY

Mr. SMITH (for himself and Mr. Byrd) submitted the following
resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign
Relations:
S. RES. 358

Whereas the United States and Turkey share common ideals and a
clear vision for the 21st century, in which freedom and democracy
are the foundation of peace, prosperity, and security;

Whereas Turkey is a strong example of a predominantly Muslim
country with a true representative democratic government;

Whereas for more than 50 years a strategic partnership has existed
between the United States and Turkey, both bilaterally and through
the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which has been of enormous
political, economic, cultural, and strategic benefit to both
countries;

Whereas the Government of Turkey has demonstrated its opposition to
terrorism throughout the world, and has called for the
international community to unite against this threat;

Whereas Turkey maintains an important bilateral relationship with
Israel and seeks to play a constructive role in Middle East peace
negotiations;

Whereas Operation Enduring Freedom entered its 6th year on October
7th, 2007;

Whereas Turkey commanded the International Security Assistance
Force in Afghanistan twice, from July 2002 to January 2003, and
>From February 2005 to August 2005;

Whereas Turkey has provided humanitarian and medical assistance in
Afghanistan and in Iraq;

Whereas the Government of Turkey has made its base in Incirlik
available for United States missions in Iraq and Afghanistan;

Whereas Secretary of Defense Robert Gates credits United States air
bases in Turkey with handling 70 percent of all air cargo deployed
into Iraq;

Whereas 95 percent of the Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protective vehicles
(MRAPs) deployed into Iraq transit through air bases in Turkey;

Whereas MRAPs protect coalition forces from improvised explosive
devices and roadside bombs;

Whereas the people of Turkey have been victims of terrorist attacks
by Al-Qaeda on November 15, 2003, and November 20, 2003;

Whereas the United States supports Turkey’s bid for membership in
the European Union; and

Whereas the Secretary of State has listed the Kurdistan Workers’
Party, which has taken up arms against Turkey since its founding,
as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in accordance with section 219
of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended: Now, therefore,
be it
Resolved, That the Senate –

(1) reiterates its strong support for the strategic alliance
between the United States and Turkey;

(2) urges Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey to
communicate the continuing support of the Senate and of the people
of the United States to the people of Turkey;

(3) condemns the violent attacks conducted by the Kurdistan
Workers’ Party over the last 2 decades;

(4) urges Kurdish leaders in Iraq to deny safe harbor for
terrorists and to recognize bilateral agreements between Iraq and
Turkey for cooperation against terrorism;

(5) encourages the Government of Turkey and the Government of Iraq
to continue to work together to end the threat of terrorism; and

(6) thanks Prime Minister Erdogan and the people and Government of
Turkey for –

(A) assuming command of the International Security Assistance Force
in Kabul, Afghanistan from July 2002 to January 2003, and from
February 2005 to August 2005;

(B) providing humanitarian and medical assistance in Afghanistan
and in Iraq;

(C) their willingness to contribute to international peace,
stability, and prosperity, especially in the greater Middle East
region; and

(D) their continued discussions with officials in the United States
and Iraq regarding constructive stabilization efforts in northern
Iraq.

www.anca.org

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