Tuesday, February 10, 2009

NJ VOICES Prints CANA Response to “Turkish Coalition of America takes on Sen. Robert Menendez over "ethnic politics"

For Immediate Release: February 10, 2009

Contact: Nikolaos Taneris, New York, Tel. 1-917-699-9935

NEW YORK-Today, February 10 2009, NJ VOICES of the New Jersey Star-Ledger Online
published Cyprus Action Network of America (CANA) Press Officer, Nikolaos
Taneris’ Op-ED, responding to The Turkish Coalition of America Op-ed (Turkish
Coalition of America takes on Sen. Robert Menendez over "ethnic politics") The
text of the Op-ED appears below, followed by The Turkish Coalition of America
Op-Ed to which CANA responds.

To see the New Jersey Star-Ledger Online, visit (www.nj.com):

URL: http://blog.nj.com/njv_publicblog/2009/02/senator_menendez_right_to_ask.html

Senator Menendez right to ask tough questions of a Turkey that is drenched in
minority blood.
By Nikolaos Taneris February 10, 2009

While I do not necessarily agree with Senator Menendez's support of the
"bizonal/bi-communal Federation" for Cyprus, I do take offense at Ms. Guler
Koknar ,( from the well financed Washington DC-based Turkish lobby TCA--Turkish
Coalition of America) launching missives of misinformation about "ethnic
politics" and "business as usual" in regards to an ongoing humanitarian crisis,
especially as it regards Turkey, with its rising Anti-American and anti-Western
,Islamic extremist slide into yet another Middle Eastern nightmare for

Turkey, as it is portrayed by its slick and deep pocketed lobbyists, would like
Americans to believe that it is a secular Muslim democracy and a US ally.

First, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of the Islamist AK Party has
said "Allah will sooner or later punish those who transgress the rights of
innocents." He added for good measure that "Media outlets supported by Jews are
disseminating false reports...." In reference to recent events in the Middle

None of which is surprising when considering the rise of Islamic fundamentalism
and Turkish nationalism in Turkish popular culture. A few years ago, we saw the
huge popularity of the rabidly anti-American and anti-Semitic film Valley of the
Wolves, which shows a Jewish-American army doctor harvesting organs from wounded
Iraqi prisoners to sell to rich Americans, Israelis and Britons. The film was
shown to cheering audiences who applauded the deaths of American men and women
on film in battle scenes.

Second, in recent weeks, Turkish actor, Attila Olgac, a star in the popular
Valley of the Wolves TV series, which spawned the notorious anti-American and
anti-Israeli film of the same name, admits while being interviewed on Turkish
Star television, that during the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974 he
cold-bloodedly murdered 10 Greek prisoners. This confession is in regards to
Turkey's crimes in 1974,when Turkish forces forced over 200,000 Cypriots out of
their homes in Cyprus, massacred thousands of civilians by means of napalm and
bombs dropped on schools, houses of worship and hospitals , and illegally seized
some thirty-seven percent of Cypriot territory, which Turkey still occupies.
Cyprus is the only European country that still endures ongoing

Third, the confession of Attila Olgac is not the only one about Turkey's war
crimes in Cyprus. Many "Stories of Shame" such as this one have been recorded by
Kurdish journalist Roni Alasor, who lives in Norway for the past 30 years. In
his book "Order: Execute the Prisoners" (published 1999, printed in Greek 2001),
he records 10 confessions of Turkish army veterans who participated in the 1974
invasion involving slaughters of unarmed citizens, prisoner executions and all
types of violent acts. Sergeant H. Kofen refers to a mass grave which his unit
found in a ditch near Lapithos. "I believe these corpses (around 100) belonged
to Greek-Cypriots... even though some looked like soldiers, most of them were
citizens, dressed in civil". According to a Turkish commando, "the murders,
rapes and looting started after 22nd July 1974", after the first supposed
"ceasefire" on the island.

The government of Cyprus plans to bring up the issue of Attila Olgac and his
revelations to the Committee of the Permanent Representatives of the Council of
Europe. The initiative is important as Turkey has already been condemned from
the Council

Ms. Guler Koknar, who claims to speak for "30,000 Turkish Americans" in New
Jersey, should look into her own backyard and come to terms with Turkey's crimes
for the sake of her country and country men; it's never too late to make right
the wrongs which have been committed. Demilitarization of the Greek Island of
Cyprus, the largest of the islands of Greece, would be a first step towards
making such amends. Then should follow a full hearted apology to Greeks and
Armenians, for Turkey's long legacy of military aggression, discrimination,
massacres and genocide.

Senator Menendez, a Hispanic minority congressman, is very much in his right to
ask tough questions of what foreign policy makers plan to do with a Turkey that
is drenched in minority blood.

Nikolaos Taneris, Press Officer, Cyprus Action Network of America (CANA)

URL http://blog.nj.com/njv_guest_blog/2009/01/turkish_coalition_of_america_t.html

Turkish Coalition of America takes on Sen. Robert Menendez over "ethnic
Posted by Guler Koknar/ NJ Voices Guest Blogger January 28, 2009 3:08PM
Categories: Politics

While America is currently engaged in two wars, faces the continued threat of
international terrorism and the possible advent of nuclear-armed rogue nations,
and struggles with an economic crisis of historical proportions, Sen. Robert
Menendez (D-NJ) chose to use his valuable time at the confirmation hearing of
newly confirmed Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to pander to the
Armenian and Greek lobbies.

While the world was watching, Sen. Menendez asked Sen. Clinton to make it a
priority to recognize as "genocide" nearly a century-old events that took place
in a foreign state which no longer exists. He theorized that the United States
must pay heed to "history that is universally recognized so that we can move
forward in that respect."

A history lesson to address the deeds of a defunct empire, apparently in the
Senator's eyes, should be a priority for the new U.S. Secretary of State to
address in confirmation hearings. Never mind that what Senator Menendez calls
"universally recognized" history, is still strongly debated among scores of
scholars and that many historians of international renown contest the genocide

If this issue was indeed universally settled, Great Britain, a country which was
a party to the conflict at hand, would not have repeatedly refused to use the
term genocide to describe the tragic events. If defining whether a crime
constituted genocide was to be entrusted to politicians, the international
community would not have bestowed the authority to investigate, prosecute and
punish such crimes to the International Court of Justice.

The senator also stated that the tiny island of Cyprus should be high on the
priority list of the Secretary of State. Voicing support for the "bi-zonal,
bi-communal federation" solution on the island, Sen. Menendez seemed to be
ignorant of the fact that this was precisely what 65 percent of Turkish Cypriots
supported in a referendum in 2004, and which 75 percent of Greek Cypriots
rejected. Based on his obvious concern for the well being of ALL Cypriots, we
hope that Sen. Menendez will now take the lead in a congressional effort to lift
the inhumane international blockade on the Turkish Cypriots and provide an
incentive for the solution he so desires.

The fact of the matter is that at the dawn of a new U.S. administration, awaited
with great anticipation to be the government of change around the world and at
home, it was politics as usual for Sen. Menendez. As the world was watching, he
faithfully continued to cater to ethnic politics at home. Rather than
questioning the Secretary of State on the countless foreign policy challenges
America faces around the world, he sought her commitment to take sides in a
historical dispute, while making a half-hearted attempt to appease the Greek
American community.

The people of New Jersey, including over 30,000 Turkish Americans, deserve
better leadership.
Guler Koknar is vice president of the Turkish Coalition of America in
Washington, D.C.


Cyprus Action Network of America (CANA)
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Email: cana@cyprusactionnetwork.org
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