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Free For All. No Tears For Turkey

by Theodore G. Karakostas
THE WASHINGTON POST, May 16, 1998; Page A13


In "Setting Turkey Free" [op-ed, May 5], James Glassman laments the European Union's exclusion of Turkey and blames "opposition from the Greeks, and from richer Europeans with a racist streak and a fear of easy immigration."

In contrast to the rosy picture painted by Glassman, Turkey is one of the most politically repressive nations on earth. In March 1996, the New York Times cited Turkey as the country leading the world in imprisoned journalists, ahead of China and Syria. Imprisonment, torture and assassinations of Turkey's journalists have earned Turkey the distinction of being "one of the world's most dangerous countries in which to pursue a career in journalism," according to Amnesty International.

In 1974 Turkey invaded Cyprus, and in a brutally characteristic fashion ethnically cleansed its Greek population from 37 percent of the island-democracy's territory, which Turkey continues to occupy today. Turkey's war against its indigenous Kurdish population has resulted in between 1 million and 3 million Kurds being ethnically cleansed from more than 3,000 villages destroyed by Turkish troops, according to State Department reports.

From the authoritarian military that governs Turkey to the wave of Islamic fundamentalism engulfing it, Turkey is not "a beautiful bird in a small cage," as Glassman imagines, but a cesspool of international aggression, government corruption and deadly political repression.



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