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[MEMORANDUM April 30, 1997]

TO: Congressional Contact Leadership Team

FROM: AHIPAC

RE: H.R. 1361, Turkish Human Rights Act introduced by Congressmen Andrews (D-NJ) and Porter (R-IL)

ACTION ALERT

On April 17, 1997 Congressman Robert Andrews (D-NJ) for himself and for Congressman John Porter (R-IL) introduced, on the initiative of the American Hellenic Institute Public Affairs Committee (AHIPAC), H.R. 1361, the Turkish Human Rights Act, which deals with conditions on economic aid to Turkey.

H.R. 1361 conditions Economic Support Fund (ESF) assistance to Turkey on significant and demonstrable progress by Turkey on human rights and other issues.

It is urgent that the grassroots Greek American community call their Representatives and ask him/her to co-sponsor and actively support H.R. 1361, the Turkish Human Rights Act. (The Andrews (D-NJ)-Porter (R-IL) Turkish Human Rights Act.) In the meantime we will make a special effort to have the House Appropriations Committee eliminate economic aid to Turkey in the Committee bill.

Under H.R. 1361, economic grant aid may not be provided to Turkey unless the Secretary of State submits a report to the Congress documenting that the Secretary of State determines that the Government of Turkey has made significant progress in the following areas:

Permits domestic and international human rights monitoring without fear of reprisal or persecution; has ceased all efforts to deny the recognition of the civil, cultural and human rights of its Kurdish citizens; has ceased its military operations against Kurdish civilians; and has taken demonstrable steps toward a peaceful resolution of the Kurdish issue;· has taken actions and instituted policies to demilitarize Cyprus and provide for the total withdrawal of Turkish military forces from Cyprus;· provides support for a settlement for the Republic of Cyprus based on a constitutional democracy with key U.S. principles of majority rule, the rule of law, the protection of minority and human rights, and the provision for implementation of the 3 basic freedoms, namely, freedom of movement, of property, and of settlement;· has ceased its blockade of U.S. and international assistance to Armenia; and has ceased its official restrictions Christian churches and provides sufficient protection against acts of violence and harassment of the clergy and religious minorities and acts of vandalism on church and school property.

H.R. 1361 has the support of the Greek American community including the three largest membership organizations, the Order of AHEPA, the American Hellenic Institute, and the Hellenic American National Council. AHIPAC is working to introduce separate legislation dealing with military loan aid to Turkey.

Two years ago the Clinton Administration proposed $100 million in ESF grants to Turkey. Congress reduced the amount to $331/2 million. Last year the Administration requested $60 million in ESF funds for Turkey, while Congress appropriated $22 million. This year the Administration has proposed $50 million in ESF funds for Turkey. We believe we have a good opportunity this year to eliminate ESF funds for Turkey. Remember June 29, 1995 when the Porter Amendment cutting $25 million in aid to Turkey won by 247 to 155.

Ask your Representative to call Congressman Andrews' office (202-225-6501) or Congressman Porter's office (202-225-4835 to authorize co-sponsorship of H.R.1361.

Talking Points:
· Supporting H.R.1361, Turkish Human Rights Act, will help ensure that recipients of U.S. aid adhere to the rule of law and basic international standards for human rights.
· The U.S. State Department, in 1996 Country Report on Human Rights, concluded that the human rights situation in Turkey worsened in 1996. Turkey is in violation of the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Right and the European Convention on Human Rights. · Turkey continues to deny basic human rights to 15 million Kurds. In November 1996 Human Rights Watch released a report confirming that Turkey's military has been waging a genocidal war against the Kurds for over 10 years using U.S. supplied arms to deny the Kurds their human rights and an identity.
· Turkish 'death squads' have killed 165 Kurdish leaders according to Helsinki Watch. Turkey has destroyed over 2000 Kurd villages. · An autonomous Kurdish region in Southeastern Turkey (as in Northern Iraq) is clearly in the interest of the U.S. as it would create a significant buffer against Iranian expansionism. The U.S. must not continue to be a party to Turkey's illegal suppression of 15 million Kurds.
· Turkey's use of torture generally as an instrument of policy has been condemned by international organizations and the distinguished Association of the Bar of the City of New York. · Turkey continues its military and colonial occupation of Cyprus. Turkey has obstructed efforts to reach a just and lasting resolution on the island and refuses to agree to majority rule, the rule of law, and protection of minority rights as proposed by President Bush. · Turkey continues to obstruct desperately needed U.S. humanitarian aid to Armenia.
· Turkey places restrictions on Christian communities and churches and illegally closed the Orthodox Christian Theological School in Halki in 1971 and refuses to allow it to reopen. · Turkey's unreliability as an ally and minimal strategic value to the U.S.
· Turkey's deals with Iran and Libya in violation of the D^̉Amato Act, and Cuba in violation of U.S. policy.
· Elaine Sciolino, NYT Diplomatic Correspondent, wrote a book on Iraq called The Outlaw State, 1991. She could just as easily have written one on Turkey--Outlaw State since Turkey has violated more laws than Iraq, including U.S. laws and the North Atlantic Treaty.
· Stop the appeasement of Turkey. Support the Eisenhower Doctrine in international affairs that the rule of law must be applied to friend and opponent alike. Eisenhower stated in 1956:

"There can be no peace without law. And there can be no law if we were to invoke one code of international conduct for those who oppose us and another for our friends.

· Support H.R.1361, Turkish Human Rights Act, and reject Turkey's U.S. "agents of influence" $4 million for several firms according to Justice Department records.· It is unreasonable to continue aid to Turkey in view of

  1. our huge debt and annual deficit,
  2. our enormous domestic needs,
  3. the end of the Cold War,
  4. the end of the Warsaw Pact,
  5. the breakup of the Soviet Union,
  6. the demise of communism,
  7. the reduction of armed forces in the U. S., NATO and the former U.S.S.R.,
  8. the lack of any real threat to Turkey,
  9. Turkey's numerous and continuing violations of U.S. and international laws.
###

American Hellenic Institute, Inc. 1220 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036 (202)785-8430/ (800)424-9607

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