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The Administration's Budget Proposals for Turkey



February 4, 1998 No. 08/98


In the Administration's budgetary proposals for Fiscal Year 1999 military assistance and economic grant aid for Turkey are eliminated.

The American Hellenic Institute welcomes the elimination of military and economic aid for Turkey. For many years AHI has argued that U.S. military and economic support for Turkey has rendered our country an accessory to Turkey's violations of international law, aggression, undemocratic practices, genocide-like actions, and human rights abuses. AHI is glad that with regard to aid policy this sad chapter in U.S. relations with Turkey is at long last coming to an end.

However, the Administration's proposals are inadequate. In the interests of the U.S., far-reaching changes in U.S. policy toward Turkey are needed, including a halt to all arms sales and transfers to Turkey. The budget does not effect these changes. Indeed, the Administration is actively contemplating such sales. Turkey's continuing violations of the norms of international behavior, as set out in the 1997 State Department Human Rights report, issued January 30, reinforce the need for a fresh U.S. approach.

The European Union leaders in their statement of December 14, 1997, declining to accept Turkey as a candidate for early accession to the EU, cited similar concerns about Turkey's adherence to democracy, human rights, and respect for the territorial integrity of its neighbors. The EU leaders made specific mention of Turkey's continuing illegal occupation of Cyprus and of its destabilizing claims to Greek sovereign territory in the Aegean.

AHI General Counsel Eugene T. Rossides stated: "The elimination of military and economic aid to Turkey provides an opportunity to review U.S. policy toward Turkey. So long as Turkey persists in its human rights abuses and threats to its neighbors, the U.S. should not maintain a normal relationship with Turkey. All U.S. arms sales and transfers should be halted and all negotiations should be broken off. Further, the U.S. should instruct its representatives in the international financial institutions to vote against any multilateral aid to Turkey.

Important U.S. interests are at stake in Southeastern Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean. To date, our policy toward Turkey has not reflected these interests. I hope that a review can put U.S. policy on a sounder footing."