Washington, DC — The following Op-Ed article by AHI President Gene Rossides appeared in The National Herald of January 29, 2005, page 11, The Hellenic News of America of February 1, 2005, page 3 and The Hellenic Voice of February 2, 2005, page 5.
Greece, Cyprus, Turkey and Bush's Inaugural Speech
By Gene Rossides
Bush stated; "From the day of our founding we have proclaimed that every man and woman on this earth has rights, and dignity, and matchless value…Across the generations, we have proclaimed the imperative of self-government, because no one is fit to be a master, and no one deserves to be a slave. Advancing these ideals is the mission that created our nation. It is the honorable achievement of our fathers. Now it is the urgent requirement of our nation's security, and the calling of our time."
President Bush then stated the broad global mission of the U.S. in the following sentence: "So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world."
Bush continued: "Freedom, by its nature, must be chosen and defended by citizens, and sustained by the rule of law and the protection of minorities…America will not impose our own style of government on the unwilling. Our goal instead is to help others find their own voice, attain their own freedom, and make their own way.
The great objective of ending tyranny is the concentrated work of generations…[F]ortunately for the oppressed, America's influence is considerable, and we will use it confidently in freedom's cause.
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We will persistently clarify the choice before every ruler and every nation: The moral choice between oppression which is always wrong, and freedom, which is eternally right. America will not pretend that jailed dissidents prefer their chains, or that women welcome humiliation and servitude, or that any human being aspires to live at the mercy of bullies.
We will encourage reform in other governments by making clear that success in our relations will require the decent treatment of their own people. Americas belief in human dignity will guide our policies, yet rights must be more that the grudging concessions of dictators; they are secured by free dissent and the participation of the governed. In the long run, there is no justice without freedom, and there can be no human rights without human liberty.
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Today America speaks anew to the people of the world: All people who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know -- the United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you.
Democratic reformers facing repression, prison or exile can know: America sees you for who you are – the future leaders of your free country."
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The President called on "our youngest citizens" to: "make the choice to serve in a cause larger than your wants, larger than yourself, and in your days you will add not just to the wealth of our country, but to its character."
The President asked two questions in the concluding part of his speech: "Did our generation advance the cause of freedom? And did our character bring credit to that cause?"
The President said: "We go forward with complete confidence in the eventual triumph of freedom…When our founders declared a new order of the ages… they were acting on an ancient hope that is meant to be fulfilled."
The President concluded with the following paragraph:
"When the Declaration of Independence was first read in public and the Liberty Bell was sounded in celebration, a witness said, ‘It rang as if it meant something.' In our time it means something still. America, in this young century, proclaims liberty throughout all the world, and to all the inhabitants thereof. Renewed in our strength, tested but not weary, we are ready for the greatest achievements in the history of freedom."
How will Bush's speech affect U.S. relations with Greece, Cyprus and Turkey?
Greece has continuing problems with Turkey because of Turkey's claims to one-half of the Aegean and Turkey's routine violations of Greek air space. The U.S. through the actions of the State Department has failed to uphold international treaties and law which delineate the maritime boundary in the Aegean between Greece and Turkey. The U.S. is a signatory to the key treaty, the 1947 Paris Peace Treaty, yet has refused to date to state publicly what the maritime boundary is and that Turkey has no legitimate claim.
Regarding violations of Greek air space by Turkish air force planes, the U.S. turns a blind eye rather than calling on Turkey to cease its violations.
Cyprus continues to be the victim of Turkish aggression and occupation. Turkey's occupation of 37% of Cyprus is now it its 31st year with 35,000 Turkish occupation troops and over 100,000 illegal settlers. Instead of taking actions to end Turkey's illegal occupation, the U.S. backed the infamous Annan Plan with its undemocratic features, its unworkable and not financially viable provisions and which, unbelievably, called on the Greek Cypriots to pay for the damages they suffered from the Turkish military and for the return of their own property.
Unless President Bush acts decisively and changes U.S. policy towards Turkey's aggression and occupation in Cyprus and Turkey's outlandish Aegean claims and Turkey's violations of Greek air space, it will make a mockery of his eloquent and high minded inaugural speech.
Regarding Cyprus, President Bush should adopt the policy of his father who stated on July 7, 1988 in a speech in Boston: "We seek for Cyprus a constitutional democracy based on majority rule, the rule of law and the protection of minority rights….I want to see a democratic Cyprus free from the threat of war."
Regarding Turkey's aggression in Cyprus, President Bush should adopt the policy of President Dwight D. Eisenhower in opposition to aggression and support of the rule of law in international affairs when he condemned and reversed the invasion of Egypt by Britain, France and Israel in October 1956. It is worth recalling Eisenhower's words during the 1956 Suez crisis. In his October 31, 1956 television and radio report to the nation Eisenhower said:
"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."
President Bush also needs to take action against Turkey for (1) its violations of the rights of its Kurdish citizens which amounts to ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity and genocide; (2) its thousands of political prisoners; (3) its jailed journalists; (4) its lack of religious freedom for the Ecumenical Patriarchate; (5) its failure to reopen the Halki Patriarchal School of Theology illegally closed in 1971; and (6) its failure to acknowledge the Armenian genocide.
Unless President Bush acts to change U.S. policy towards Turkey to accord with his eloquent phrases in his inaugural speech, the answers to his two questions will be "no."
Gene Rossides is President###
of the American Hellenic Institute and
former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury
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