AMERICAN HELLENIC EDUCATIONAL PROGRESSIVE ASSOCIATION
August 13, 2020
Honorable Donald J. Trump The President
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Trump:
On behalf of the members of the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (Order of AHEPA), the leading international grassroots service association of American citizens of Hellenic heritage and Philhellenes, I write to convey our organization’s alarm and grave concern about NATO-member Turkey’s dangerous aggression toward fellow NATO-member Greece in the Aegean that has escalated tensions to a level not seen since 1996, has destabilized the Eastern Mediterranean, and unnecessarily places lives in harm’s way.
On July 22, 2020, AHEPA sent a letter to Secretary Pompeo requesting the State Department advise Turkish authorities to halt its operations in the region. AHEPA maintains that any reference by the United States to Greece’s continental shelf as “disputed waters” is simply unacceptable, erroneous, and only serves to embolden Turkey. It also runs contrary to repeated statements made by U.S. Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt that Greek islands are entitled to their continental shelf and are part of Greece’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), as recently as last month.
I am urging you to advise Secretary of State Pompeo to once again advise the Turkish government to stop their aggressive behavior in the region. On August 14, the Foreign Minister of Greece and our Secretary of State will meet at which time I have no doubt the issue of the most recent series of provocations in the Eastern Mediterranean by Turkey’s research ship Oruc Reis in Greek and Cypriot territorial waters will be discussed.
Turkey is not an ally of the United States as its warlike actions invading the sovereignty and territorial boundaries of Greece and Cyprus increased tensions in the region and is being met with disdain by many of our allies. France, Egypt, the UAE, Israel, Cyprus and many other nations have expressed concern over Turkey’s aggressive behavior. Their actions are abhorrent and indefensible.
An armed conflict between NATO-member countries is not in the United States’ best interests and places NATO at risk. The United States must insist Turkey halt its aggressive operations in the region before an accident will escalate already high tensions. The United States must send a stronger and clearer message to Turkey that its actions are condemnable, violate international norms, and will not be tolerated by the United States. Otherwise, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will continue with the threat of and actual armed conflict. The United States must not continue the policy of appeasement with Turkey. It is against the interests of America and has destabilized the region.
The American Hellenic community, and the world, is alarmed by Turkey’s behavior that challenges American security interests and threatens NATO allies and strategic partners of the United States in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East.
We urge the Administration to condemn and prevent Turkey from further actions in the Aegean that violate all international norms.
The United States must impose sanctions on Turkey. Mr. President, we ask you to utilize your authority to direct Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to impose significant sanctions on Turkish entities pursuant to Section 231 of CAATSA for their acquisition of Russian-made S-400 missiles as the United States rightfully imposed on Chinese entities in 2018.
AHEPA is open to discussion on these matters. However, there is no time to wait. Thank you for your time and consideration.