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Press Release 12/25/07

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Hellenic Electronic Center (HEC)

A Non-Profit Organization Registered in the US

with 37,000 Hellenes as members and

36 Hellenic associations in the US and abroad
December 25, 2007
The following press release condemns the latest irrational act of violence against the Greek
minority in Turkey. We appeal to US media outlets and to US government officials to turn
their attention to the plight of Turkey's Greek Orthodox minority. The assault against the
editor of a Greek newspaper proves yet again that the government of Turkey and its
nationalist military which exerts undue influence on domestic affairs is intent on driving
out the surviving remnants of the Turkey's Greek minority.
We are in no way surprised by the ongoing policies of repression and discrimination that
are perpetrated by the Turkish government against the Greek minority and the Orthodox
Ecumenical Patriarchate. Turkish repression has been ongoing throughout the twentieth
century --  from the Genocidal policies of the Young Turks and their successor Mustafa
Kemal up to the present day. We are however, shocked and dismayed by the indifference
of the western world, of governments and media alike, to the appalling mistreatment of
Turkey's  religious and ethnic minorities.
We recall with great sadness that the infamous pogroms of September 6, 1955 -- which
succeeded in destroying the Greek presence in Constantinople and the islands of Imbros
and Tenedos, occurred during a time when an international conference had taken place
in Turkey. As such, the offensive against the Greek minority in Turkey occurred in the
open, with the international community fully aware of the violations of human rights
and religious freedoms taking place.
Despite present-day abuses and atrocities, Turkey continues to be treated as a
respected member of the international community, and its European Candidacy
appears untroubled by its continued assault on its Greek and Christian populations.
Just last July, both the Greek Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch and the Armenian Patriarch
were targeted in an assassination attempt by retired military officers. And despite inter-
national pleas to re-open it, the Greek Orthodox theological Seminary of Halki remains
closed, thus ensuring the complete extinction of the Patriarchate if not reopened.
(Future Patriarchs must have been schooled there.)
We believe that it is not too late for the governments of America and the European Union,
for the media, and for various human rights groups to intervene on behalf of the Greek
minority and the Ecumenical Patriarchate. We likewise believe that the human rights
question in Turkey is inseparable from the issue of human rights in the territories of
Cyprus which Turkish troops have been occupying since 1974.
The experiences of the Western world with totalitarian and authoritarian regimes
throughout the twentieth century should have left a legacy of protecting minority
populations. Rather, it appears that mythical strategic considerations (as in the
case of Turkey) have condemned minority populations in Turkey and Turkish-
occupied Cyprus to a permanent state of misery. We appeal for support on the part
of the civilized world to put an end to the mistreatment of Greeks in Turkey
and Turkish-occupied Cyprus, and for the application of the same standards to
Turkey as to other violators of individual rights and freedoms.
Theodore G. Karakostas This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Member of HEC Executive Council
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