- The Washington Times - Friday, December 1, 2006

Turkey, Greece and Cyprus

Nick Larigakis’ Nov. 24 letter, “Turkey’s EU problem,” once again demonstrates how truth and honesty are irrelevant when it comes to Turkish issues. The American Hellenic Institute does Greek Americans a disservice. Serving one’s constituency should not mean carrying the passion of hatred and vitriol for eternity, but facing the truth and attempting to solve problems and improve relations.

The 1960 Treaty of Guarantee for Cyprus, an instrument of international law, not only empowered, but required “concerted or unilateral action” when circumstances such as those prevailing on Cyprus in 1974 existed. This made Turkey’s intervention legal. Even without such legal justification, Turkey was right morally because it was an accepted fact that the Turkish Cypriots stood on the brink of extermination at the hands of the organizers of the Greek coup d’etat. Turkey’s military action was unable to prevent the mass murders of Turkish Cypriots in remote villages in the Famagusta district. The record shows that there were no similar atrocities against Greek Cypriots.

The U.N. resolutions to which Mr. Larigakis refers in his letter do not talk about the withdrawal of Turkish troops alone, but the withdrawal of all non-Cypriot forces in the context of a political settlement, including the thousands of Greek troops and the 20 generals from the mainland who commanded them.

Recently, the failed Annan Plan proposed a phased withdrawal of all military forces, yet Greek Cypriots overwhelmingly rejected it, while Turkish Cypriots accepted it. This begs the question: Who truly wants a solution to Cyprus?

In order to refute the statement that “Turkish Cypriots were never held hostage by Greek Cypriots,” it would suffice to look at the U.N secretary-general’s report dated Sept. 10, 1964 (S/5950), which states that the restrictions imposed on the Turkish Cypriots in that period amounted to a “veritable siege.” As far as the Turkish intervention in 1974 is concerned, the German newspaper Die Zeit put it best when it reported in its issue of Aug. 30, 1974, that “the massacre of Turkish Cypriots in Paphos and Famagusta is the proof of how justified the Turks were to undertake their second [August] intervention.”

In the final analysis, neither accusations and counteraccusations nor exploitation of the international legal system will resolve the Cyprus issue, but the two parties themselves in direct, face-to-face negotiations. We urge our Greek Cypriot opponents, particularly the members of the Greek-American community who consistently take an aggressive, often hostile attitude toward their Turkish counterparts, to refrain from this counterproductive campaign and help in the process of building bridges of trust and cooperation between the two communities in Cyprus.

ORHAN H SULEIMAN

Vice president

Maryland American Turkish

Association Inc.

Columbia

We should be cautious

I read your article “Marshals decry imams’ charges” (Page 1, Wednesday) with the usual dismay. The Islamic community is spinning this incident so much that the Democrats are starting to believe the distorted rhetoric.

No one other than the liberal media can blame passengers for getting suspicious and hearing alarm bells when six Muslim men purposely displayed not only antagonistic, unusual behavior, but past terrorists’ patterns. The article quotes Rabiah Ahmed saying “because one person misunderstood the actions of other law-abiding citizens, they were able to trigger a very long and daunting process for other travelers.” It would seem that the only person who misunderstood this situation was Miss Ahmed. Clearly, the blatant actions of these imams were enough to raise the suspicions of more than one person. All the actions taken by the imams were to solicit a response. Whatever their reason, they clearly were out to make a statement, cause trouble or worse.

I think we are past the era of “misunderstandings” and misconceptions. People are removed from flights every day for various behaviors. A few weeks ago, a couple refused to stop being “romantic” on a plane, and they were removed. Enough of this silly politically correct nonsense. If the Muslim community thinks it is walking on eggshells, there is good reason for that. Americans have every right to be cautious and feel the way they do in this day and age. If you don’t like it, don’t fly.

BRYAN CALLAN

Washington

The Israel problem

Ona Bunce believes the Western powers need the existence of Israel because it is vital for the balance of power in the Middle East; Israel is an “indispensable” nation-state and a Western-style democracy. She also asks, “do we really believe that Hamas and Fatah will get along if Israel is out of the way?” (“Why Israel?” Letters, Tuesday).

The truth is that the installation of Israel in Palestine without the consent of the indigenous population was cruel and unjust and was seen as such by all Muslims in the region. Israel immediately ethnically cleansed western Palestine of 850,000 villagers, a war crime. Miss Bunce discusses problems with Hamas, Fatah and Hezbollah but fails to indicate that they all were products of Israeli aggression. Hamas and Fatah fight against the 39-year occupation of Palestine, and Hezbollah fought against the 22-year occupation of Lebanese land.

She says Israel is a democracy, but this just describes its internal politics. To adjacent countries, it is a land-grabbing entity. It takes Palestinian land for settlements as well as the Shebaa Farms from Lebanon and the Golan Heights from Syria. Israel breaks international law with impunity and ignores all U.N. resolutions and the Geneva Conventions. It can do this because it is given total protection by the United States. America spends blood and treasure to defend freedom and democracy around the world but never defends the victims of Israeli land grabs.

WILLIAM G. GARRETT

Harrow Midlesex

England

Don’t expand visa waiver program

During his trip to the NATO summit in Latvia this week, President Bush promised leaders of newer NATO member countries (Estonia, Poland and Hungary) that he would seek to expand the visa waiver program, which would allow citizens of those nations to travel to the United States for up to 90 days without first having to obtain a U.S. entry visa (“Bush seeks to ease visa requirement,” Page 1, Wednesday). This is ill-considered for several reasons.

First, Mr. Bush makes the offer in a transparent effort to keep troops from those countries within the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq at a time when most already have announced their intention to withdraw by the end of next year, if not before.

Second, most of these former communist nations are members of the European Union, but their economies remain sluggish and unable to generate the kind of job growth needed to discourage emigration. Some EU nations, such as Britain and Ireland, have tightened entrance requirements for former Eastern bloc nationals and placed stricter quotas on migrants from countries that entered the European Union in 2007 (Bulgaria and Romania).

Third, though they may have been lost in the sea of Mexican flags displayed during the pro-immigration demonstrations earlier this year, not an inconsiderable number of the 12 million to 20 million illegal immigrants in the United States are people from the former communist bloc countries who have overstayed their visas. Those who overstay their visas can be sent home more easily, but a waiver provision makes tracking and deporting scofflaws more difficult. Many would remain past the departure deadline in hope of being given permanent residency if an amnesty bill is passed, thus encouraging more illegal immigration.

ROBERT BERRY

Montgomery Village

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