To the Editor:
Your October 17th editorial, ``America Arms Turkey's Repression'', is right on the mark. It is refreshing to see your publication acknowledge that the United States has for years provided aid to Turkey which is being used for purposes that deeply betray American values. The item marks a welcome change in your editorial stance on US-Turkish relations.
Your editorial position, however, gives a very narrow view of human rights violations by the Turkish Government. You correctly underscore the severe repression of the Kurdish minority as possibly Turkey's most pressing human rights problem. Yet the Kurdish issue is simply the most visible of a long list of equally disturbing violations of international law:
You correctly state that any further aid to Turkey should be conditioned on genuine and significant improvements in its human rights record. Turkey additionally should be required to bring its policies in line with international law as other more publicized violators, such as Saddam Hussein and Bosnian Serb war-criminal Zeljko Raznjatovic (alias, ``Arkan''), have expressly referred to the U.S.'s inaction vis-a-vis Turkey as a justification for their own actions. What is especially menacing is that, far from serving as a model nation to be emulated, Turkey has consistently served as a model for malignity, figuring even in Hitler's calculus: who still talks nowadays of the extermination of the Armenians? [*]
As you have stated in your editorial, Turkey has escaped any meaningful cutbacks in assistance by playing up its strategic importance first as a military base during the Cold War and then as a secular Islamic model for the newly formed Central Asian republics. Congress should seriously reconsider whether it wants Turkey to serve as a model for these newly independent nations, without first requiring Turkey to clean up its own record.
Sincerely yours,Leo E. Argiris, P.E.
[*] Adolf Hitler, The New York Times, November 24, 1945, p. 7.