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AHI Submits Letter to the New York Times in Response to Turkey’s Posture toward Museum Community
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Georgea Polizos
October 16, 2012—No. 68 (202) 785-8430

AHI Submits Letter to the New York Times in Response to Turkey’s Posture toward Museum Community

WASHINGTON, DC — The American Hellenic Institute (AHI) released a letter to the editor it submitted to the New York Times in response to an Oct. 1, 2012 article titled “Seeking Return of Art, Turkey Jolts Museums.”

The article reports “Thievery and looting are wrong, Turkey says, no matter when they occurred.” In his letter, AHI President Nick Larigakis rebuts Turkey’s claim by citing Turkey’s looting of Cyprus’ cultural and religious heritage following Turkey’s invasion and occupation of the Republic of Cyprus, which has been documented by a Law Library of Congress report.

Larigakis also describes Turkey’s disregard of the Unesco Convention and Turkey’s aggressive negotiation tactics that include “stunning ultimatums” to museum directors as nothing new to analysts who follow Turkey’s behavior in the international community.

To read the New York Times article, please click here.  President Larigakis’ letter to the editor is found below.

The American Hellenic Institute is a non-profit Greek American think-tank and public policy center that works to strengthen relations between the United States and Greece and Cyprus, and within the Greek American community.

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For additional information, please contact Georgea Polizos at (202) 785-8430 or at pr@ahiworld.org. For general information about the activities of AHI, please see our website at http://www.ahiworld.org.

 

 

October 4, 2012

Letters to the Editor
The New York Times
620 Eighth Avenue
New York, NY  10018

Dear Editor,

“Seeking Return of Art, Turkey Jolts Museums” (Oct. 1) correctly identifies another example of Turkey’s contempt for international agreements to which it is a signatory unless it suits its own interests. 

It would be laughable if it were not so tragically ironic when Turkey states “thievery and looting are wrong…no matter when they occurred.”  Tell that to the people of Cyprus. Turkey looted Cyprus’ cultural and religious heritage following its invasion and occupation of Cyprus. A Law Library of Congress report confirmed a large number of religious and archaeological objects from Turkish-occupied Cyprus have been illegally exported and subsequently sold in art markets. Most of Turkey’s antiquities are from the Hellenistic period and are “inherited” from the Ottoman Empire’s conquest of ancient lands and cultures that flourished centuries before the Ottomans.  

Turkey’s disregard of the Unesco convention and Mr. Suslu’s shocking ultimatums and aggressive tactics to museum officials do not stun analysts who follow Turkey’s behavior in the international community.  In 2003, the New York Times reported a Bush administration official, in the effort to open a northern front into Iraq, called Turkey’s negotiation tactics “extortion in the name of alliance.”

Sincerely,

Nick Larigakis
President
American Hellenic Institute
1220 16th Street, NW
Washington, DC  20036
nlarigakis@ahiworld.org
202-785-8430