President Larigakis Sends Letter to Heads of House Foreign Affairs Committee
WASHINGTON, DC The American Hellenic Institute (AHI) conveyed its opposition to H.R.6649, Naval Vessel Transfer Act of 2012 in a December 19, 2012 letter sent to U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), chairman, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and U.S. Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA), ranking member, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, the sponsors of the bill. The legislation includes a provision authorizing the transfer of two naval vessels (guided missile frigates) to Turkey.
“Our opposition is rooted in a fundamental adherence to the rule of law, which Turkey continues to violate on several fronts,” wrote AHI President Nick Larigakis. “This is not a proper time to authorize a transfer of naval frigates to Turkey because of the confrontational behavior it has openly displayed toward U.S. allies which are not in the best interest of the United States and are in violation of the rule of law.”
The letter provides several examples of Turkey’s provocations and threats in the eastern Mediterranean made toward Greece, Cyprus and Israel, which also include U.S. interests in the region, as reasons for AHI’s opposition to the bill. AHI President Larigakis cites a September 2011 statement by Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen where she described Turkey’s increased military presence as “a clear threat” to U.S. citizens and interests in the region.
In addition, the letter notes Turkey’s illegal occupation with 43,000 of its troops of the Republic of Cyprus, a European Union nation that has assumed the EU rotating presidency and Turkey’s continued violation of international law by transferring 180,000 illegal colonists into the occupied area of Cyprus, and Turkey’s violation of the religious freedoms of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the spiritual leader of 300 million Orthodox Christians.
Click here to read AHI’s letter to Chairman Ros-Lehtinen and Ranking Member Berman.