RE: "Weighing The Ethics of A Trip",
December 15, 1996
To the Editor:
It was extremely refreshing to see the Times reminding its readers that they are making a moral choice when they visit countries with repressive governments (Seth Mydans, "Weighing The Ethics of A Trip",Travel Section, 12/15/96) by providing these regimes with valuable foreign capital. It is too bad your Travel Section has failed to address this same issue with regard to burgeoning American tourism to a nation which Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch consider one of the worst human rights violators in the world.
According to figures released by the State Department, the Turkish Government has ethnically cleansed more Kurds from their homeland in south eastern Turkey than Serbs, Croats and Muslims were ethnically cleansed in the Bosnian war. Turkey continues to occupy the island-nation of Cyprus after a brutal 1974 invasion which killed thousands of Cypriots and ethnically cleansed tens of thousands more. Imprisonment, torture, rape, and executions by government hit squads are used to silence writers, intellectuals and other dissidents; Amnesty International recently issued a protest for the government's torture of a 12 year old boy.
The Greek and Armenian Christian minorities have dwindled from hundreds of thousands in the 1950's to a few thousand today as a result of pogroms, threats and other forms of discrimination by the Turkish Government. Turkey brought the ugliest word in the human vocabulary into existence, "genocide", having committed the first mass extermination of another people in our century. Worse yet, Turkey is spending millions here in the US for the sole purpose of denying the Armenian Genocide through the outright purchase of scholars and university chairs within our most prestigious universities.
We already risk becoming accomplices to these crimes against humanity by standing idly by as our government lavishes Turkey with the third largest amount of aid from American taxpayers' coffers after Israel and Egypt, and arms its mammoth military machine with devastating weapons systems which are being used against civilians. Americans with a conscience should think twice before visiting Turkey, and making this support a personal choice.
P. D. Spyropoulos, Esq.