- The Washington Times - Friday, January 18, 2002

Turkey and human rights

Bruce Fein's Jan. 15 Commentary column, "To reap twice-blessed rewards," is a highly offensive missive of misinformation and hatred toward the former vassals of the Turks Arabs, Kurds and Greeks. As a self-proclaimed "scholar" for the Assembly of Turkish American Associations, a well-financed Turkish lobby in Washington, Mr. Fein should mention the animosity the Arab press has directed toward Kemalist Turkey in recent days. On Jan. 12, the Riyadh Daily said of Turkey, "Even a simple Islamic dress attire as a head scarf has not been accepted by the country's leadership, when even non-Islamic countries permit it." The influential Saudi paper went on to conclude that Turkey's disrespect for the sentiments of Muslims nullifies its standing in the Muslim world. No small wonder that world-famous Saudi Osama bin Laden, in a recent broadcast, branded Turkey "the infidel" in the same category as the Israeli crusaders.
For me and many millions of Pontic Greeks around the world, the description of Turkey as "infidel" resonates, as do the words "genocide" and "ethnic cleansing." Our ancestors were forcibly deported in death marches from their native region of Pontus on the orders of Mr. Fein's "George Washington," Mustafa Kemal. He and his Turkish armies landed in the Black Sea port of Samsun on May 19, 1919, ousted some 700,000 indigenous Greek civilians from their ancestral homes and forced them on a death march that claimed more than 300,000 victims. The international community, through its silence, has pardoned the perpetrator of this crime, and newspapers such as The Washington Times publish "scholars" such as Mr. Fein who denigrate the memory of the victims.
Mustafa Kemal, the so-called "Ataturk" or father of the Turks, is a figure whose statues in Turkish-occupied Kurdistan must be washed every morning of dung and refuse hurled on them by passers-by. Not only did this ethnic cleanser commit genocide on the Pontic Greeks, his policies set the stage for the ongoing Kurdish genocide some 750,000 Kurd victims and rising.

Portland, Ore.Bruce Fein's Jan. 15 Commentary column on Turkey was extremely narrow in its analysis and devoid of objectivity. It is a tremendous disservice to George Washington to compare him with Turkish ultranationalist leader Mustafa Kemal, who was responsible for the genocide inflicted upon Anatolia's Armenian, Assyrian and Greek-Christian populations in 1922 and 1923. Upon entering the city of Smyrna in September 1922, Kemal's troops enthusiastically slaughtered more than 100,000 Greeks and 30,000 Armenians,
To refer to Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit as a proponent of human rights is to ignore the fact that Mr. Ecevit ordered the Turkish invasions of Cyprus on July 20 and Aug. 14, 1974, that resulted in the ethnic cleansing of more than 200,000 Greeks and the occupation of 37 percent of the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus. The Turkish occupation of Cyprus is a violation of international law and dozens of U.N. resolutions as well as legal rulings by the European Court of Human Rights.
Mr. Fein's analysis of the Cyprus situation ignores both international law and the atrocities committed by Turkish forces. To date, more than 1,600 Greek Cypriots have been missing since the Turkish invasions. Referring to the Turk-occupied territories as "democratic" is terribly misleading, as can be demonstrated by the murders in August 1996 of two Greek Cypriots, one of whom was shot to death by a Turkish sniper while protesting peacefully.
Mr. Fein ignores the reality that there is no such thing as a "Greek-Cypriot administration," only the Republic of Cyprus. To date, no country in the world recognizes the legitimacy of the Turkish occupation of Cyprus. Mr. Fein's commentary refers to Kosovo and Bosnia. Unlike these two provinces, the Republic of Cyprus was an independent and sovereign entity, fully recognized for 14 years before it was invaded by the army of a foreign state in 1974.


Nuclear storage plan would create dangerous scenario

In "The battle of Yucca Mountain," your Jan. 15 editorial on the Energy Department's decision to recommend that President Bush move ahead with development of a repository for high-level radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel at Yucca Mountain, Nev., you fail to acknowledge two overriding problems. One has to do with the site itself, and the other with the massive, unprecedented and risky transportation campaign that will be required to move waste to such a facility.
Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham's decision to press ahead with the Yucca Mountain program ignores the fact that the Nevada site is seriously flawed and that the Energy Department's site evaluation program has historically been driven by politics rather than science.
Just weeks before Mr. Abraham announced his decision on Yucca Mountain, the General Accounting Office (GAO) issued a scathing report, criticizing the Energy Department for shoddy science, incomplete analyses and massive uncertainties in its conclusions about the site's suitability. The GAO concluded that the Energy Department does not have the evidentiary basis for making a favorable decision on Yucca Mountain at this time. Similar criticisms have been voiced by the presidentially appointed Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Advisory Committee on Nuclear Waste.
More problematic is the erroneous conclusion of your editorial that placing all of the country's nuclear "eggs" in one basket will reduce the security risks posed by spent nuclear fuel. Proponents of Yucca Mountain conveniently overlook the fact that, to move spent fuel from nuclear power reactors around the country to a repository, this highly dangerous material must be removed from safe, secure storage, where it is presently, and put on the country's highways and railroads in a shipping campaign unprecedented in the history of the nuclear age.
Under the Energy Department's proposed plan, there would be as many as 100,000 such shipments spread out over a period of four decades. These shipments will present unprecedented opportunities for nuclear terrorism. Every day for decades, predictable shipments will travel America's busiest highways and rail lines, traverse America's most heavily populated metropolitan areas and cross America's mightiest rivers.
Even before September 11, shipping casks were known to be vulnerable to attacks involving explosives and armor-piercing missiles as well as to sabotage of infrastructure or vehicles causing a severe transportation accident.
By contrast, spent fuel is now stored within the security envelopes of the nuclear power plants themselves facilities that are widely acknowledged to be the most secure and heavily protected commercial facilities in the nation. With simple and cost effective renovations such as moving spent fuel into dry storage configurations, building berms around the spent-fuel storage areas or putting storage areas underground these already safe facilities can be made even more secure.
To do as your editorial suggests and attempt to ship this deadly material off-site in a misguided attempt to centralize it would expose millions of people in the country's most vulnerable metropolitan areas to tens of thousands of potential terrorist targets daily for 40 years or more.
Ironically, even if moving spent fuel to Yucca Mountain were not a major security risk, it would not solve the problem of spent-fuel storage at nuclear plant sites. As long as those plants continue to operate, they will generate spent fuel, which will have to be stored on site. In fact, it is not possible to ship spent fuel until at least five years after it is removed from a plant's reactor.
Likewise, spent fuel will not be moved to a repository all at once, as if by magic. It will take at least 40 years of continuous shipments to move just the existing inventory of spent fuel to a repository. During that time, nuclear plant operators will have to maintain and enhance security for their spent-fuel storage operations anyway. A repository only adds one additional location where spent fuel is being stored it will not reduce the number of storage sites.
The bottom line is this: Spent fuel is perfectly safe where it is now stored. It can be kept where it is, with modest security enhancements, for the foreseeable future, affording time for the country to develop new technologies that can render the material much less dangerous to transport and to dispose of.

Executive director
Nevada Agency for Nuclear Projects
Office of the Governor
Carson City, Nev.

Philippines a 'Muslim country'?

Why does Jed Babbin, in his Jan. 17 Op-Ed column "The Musharraf doctrine," call the Philippines a "Muslim country"? This can only mean that the terrorists have won.
I have long been under the impression that the Philippines is basically a Roman Catholic country, recently under siege from Muslim terrorists.
If Osama bin Laden is indeed still alive, Mr. Babbin has warmed his heart, even as much as he's chilled mine.

Bayonne, N.J.

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