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letter of Mr. T.Karakostas to HRW - 01.21.2007

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T.Karakostas to HRW - 01.11.79


To: Human Rights Watch
January 21, 2007
The following letter is intended to condemn the assassination of the writer Hrant Dink in Turkey on
Friday January 19, and to convey to Human Rights Watch the necessity of monitoring the plight of
Christian minorities in Turkey. I have been writing to Human Rights Watch regarding human rights
violations by Turkey in the occupied territories of Cyprus and against the Greek Orthodox minority
in Turkey. Thus far, the responses of Human Rights Watch have been met with complete apathy and
a refusal to condemn Turkey's ongoing persecutions of its Christian minorities.
The killing of Mr. Dink who was a courageous and principled writer who advocated the recognition of
the Armenian Genocide is proof positive that Turkey should not become a member of the European
Union. I mention this because your previous researcher on Turkey, Jonathan Sugden endorsed
Turkey's European candidacy in an article published by the Associated Press in December 2004.
The Turkish government under the nefarious influence of the Kemalist Military and Security forces
maintains a climate of hatred against Christian minorities both by denying the Genocides perpetrated
against the Armenians, Greeks, and Assyrians in the twentieth century, and by routinely harassing
and prosecuting all of its citizens, including those of Turkish descent such as Ragip Zarakolu and
Orhan Pamuk who believe that historical reality should not be victimized by Turkey's nationalistic
and racist ideology.
I wish to bring to your attention the ongoing harassment and persecution of the Ecumenical
Patriarchate which has been bombed on four occasions between 1994 and 2004 by Turkish Islamists
and nationalists. Turkey's refusal to permit the opening of the Ecumenical Patriarchate's school of
theology has been justified by Turkish military officials and nationalists on the grounds that it would
constitute "treachery" against the Turkish State. This is one example of the continued harassment
that the Christian minorities in Turkey continue to face as a result of Turkish paranoia and
The assassination of individuals who use democratic means to express opposition to Turkish
repression is not confined to those within Turkey. In 1996, the Turkish Foreign Minister Tansu
Ciller openly endorsed the slaughter of Cypriots Tasos Isaac and Solomos Solomou who protested
in a peaceful and democratic manner against the Turkish occupation. As such, I respectfully call on
Human Rights Watch to condemn the murder of Hrant Dink, to take a public position on the persecution
of the Christian minorities in Turkey, to open the process of reporting on the ethnic cleansing under
way in the Turkish occupied territories of Cyprus, and to repudiate and reverse its previous
endorsement of Turkey's candidacy for membership in the European Union.
With enormous regret, I must express the lack of satisfaction emanating from my correspondence
with Human Rights Watch which dates to 1996. During 2006, I was assured there was to be a
"document" published pertaining to the plight of Christians in Turkey, but that never materialized.
It is my intention to renew my effort with Human Rights Watch, and to follow up with more messages
and telephone calls. The assassination of Mr. Dink is both a reminder of the repressive and racist
nature of the Turkish paramilitary state, and of the complete disregard for Christian minorities by
western media and non governmental organizations such as Human Rights Watch.
In concluding, I wish to note that all further contacts will no longer be private or confidential. This
letter will be distributed to all interested parties, as will any and all responses from Human Rights
Watch. I look forward to your response.
Theodore G. Karakostas
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