Turkish-Israeli Axis vs Greece

By Professors M. C. Geokas, and A. T. Papathanasis

In February 1996, the Turkish Deputy Chief of Staff, Cevik Bir, secretly visited Israel and forged a military alliance with Shimon Peres. Unfortunately, instead of sounding the alarm, the Greeks failed to see that, in the "new" Middle East, the axis between Israel and Turkey is the most important political development in the region since the 1991 Gulf War. While the Greeks are building Holocaust memorials in Greece and restoring synagogues, Greek interests are trashed in the United States Congress by the unholy Turkish-Israeli collusion [1]. While the Greek Americans, are awarding medals and honors to prominent American Jews, the Israelis are modernizing the Turkish armed forces [2].

As expected, the Greek government has condemned this Israeli-Turkish military alliance. Indeed, a spokesperson for the Greek government has said that "Greece views the alliance as constituting a grave danger against Greece." [3] Former Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos even characterized the Israeli-Turkish relations as "an alliance of wrongdoers that brings us to a Cold War situation.'' [4] Somehow, however, the Greeks, themselves victims of Nazism, still perceive Israel mainly as a country of WWII refugees. Although they recognize that the Turkish-Israeli Axis, a political, economic, and military pact between two powerful, and "might makes right," countries, is a serious danger for Hellenism, they have not taken drastic countermeasures. Do they believe President Ezer Weizman’s assurances that Israel’s military ties with Turkey are not directed toward third parties? [5]

Turkey supposedly aligned itself with Israel to strengthen its military, undercut Syria and Iraq, crush the Kurds, and squash Islamic fundamentalism [6]. But is Syria, the PKK, and fundamentalism the only Turkish concerns, or is the Aegean, Thrace, and Cyprus high in the Turkish agenda? Similarly, this alliance is Israel’s most important strategic relationship, even more so than its relations with Egypt or Jordan. The Turkish threat on Syria’s northern borders helps Israel secure Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, and Jordan, and concentrate on Libya, Iran and Iraq [7]. Finally, American interests also benefit from this pact, and the United States continues to treat Turkey’s true rulers, mainly the military, with kid gloves.

Turkey’s position near the Caspian Sea oil fields gives it a new political and strategic importance after the collapse of the Soviet Union. In 1995, Richard Holbrooke, then assistant secretary of state for Europe, said that "Turkey stands at the crossroads of almost every issue of importance to the U.S. on the Eurasian continent-including NATO, the Balkans, Cyprus, the Aegean, Iraq sanctions, Russian relations in the Caucasus and Central Asia, and transit routes for Caspian oil and gas. Our policy reflects the continuity of shared security interests and intensive security cooperation." [8] As a result, Washington’s lavish gifts of military assistance to Ankara places Turkey just behind Israel and Egypt as America's most-favored arms client. President Carter lifted an arms embargo imposed by Congress in response to Turkey's 1974 invasion of Cyprus, and in March 1980 Washington negotiated an extensive defense cooperation pact with Ankara. The World Policy Institute reports that "the United States supplied 76% of all weapons imported by the Turkish government between 1987 and 1991, a figure which increased to 80% for the period from 1991 to 1993. The majority of U.S. weapons supplies to Turkey have been paid for by U.S. taxpayers as part of an extensive military aid program that has provided over $5 billion in assistance from F.Y. 1986 through F.Y. 1995. Turkey has also received large deliveries of U.S. weaponry for free or at minimal cost as part of the NATO "cascading" program, which involves redistributing surplus weapons rendered redundant by the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty (CFE). Last but not least, a number of U.S. weapons systems are produced in Turkey under co-production and licensing agreements with U.S. firms, including Lockheed's F-16 fighter plane and the FMC Corporation's M-113 armored personnel carrier." [9] The American largess enabled the Turkish military to amass a fleet of 360 F-16 fighter jets, the largest outside the United States, thousands of American-made tanks and armored combat vehicles, 57 Black Hawk assault helicopters, and 38 Cobra attack helicopters [10].

This arsenal, however, cannot mask Turkey’s problems. Its economy is staggering under the costs of the Kurdistan war, is beset by inflation, growing corruption, and heavy debt. More important, Turkey's chances of joining the European Union are nil as long as long as Turkey’s notorious violations of human rights, the Kurdish conflict, and the occupation of 40 percent of Cyprus persist. The European Union might ask Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Romania and Slovakia to join accession talks already under way with Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Poland and Slovenia. But Turkey's candidacy would be recognized only if major political reforms take place before talks might begin [11]. Another unsolvable problem is the schizophrenic Turkish political system. The state is dominated by "Kemalism," the outmoded ideology of Ataturk, characterized by shrill Turkish nationalism, militarism, and inertia, but large part of the Turkish masses are fundamentalist Muslims. This deep chasm between rulers and ruled makes pluralism impossible and might eventually cause Turkey to implode like Algeria [12].

The U.S. military of course would like to keep Turkey a reliable NATO partner, but American support for Turkey has its down sides. Washington does remember how American tutelage transformed Iran and Iraq, former client states, to "rogue" countries. Thus, on face value, the Ankara-Jerusalem axis was a godsend. It secured for Turkey a powerful ally, other than the United States, a superb arms supplier, joint naval maneuvers in the Mediterranean, air-force exercises in the Anatolian space, intelligence sharing, and counter-terrorism training. In an audacious challenge to the Greek and Cypriot security, Israel has secretly trained Turkish pilots to use electronic countermeasures techniques and destroy the Cypriot S-300 missiles. The Turkish daily Huriiet reported that pilots from the Turkish Air Force have been trained on destroying S-300 missiles. The training was conducted at an Israeli base in the framework of military cooperation between the two sides. The paper added that six Turkish F-16 pilots, military experts and army maintenance officers practiced destroying S-300 missiles in Shdema base in Negev district. The paper elaborated that this base is a center for training on challenging surface - air missiles, such as S-300 [13]. Turkey claims that Israel is only training Turkish pilots to destroy SAM missiles of the Kurds.

The Greek and Cypriot governments, however, despite the dangers of the Turkish-Israeli pact, are awarding large military and economic development contracts to Israeli firms. For example, Elbit Systems, an Israeli aerospace firm will be a subcontractor in Lockheed’s $2 billion agreement to supply F-16 planes to the Greek Air Force. What secrets about the Greek F-16s will the Israelis keep secret from their Turkish allies? Similarly, IDE Technologies of Israel Chemicals, won a bid to build a $120 million desalination plant in Cyprus [14].

Turkey’s greatest benefit, however, is Israel's powerful U.S. lobby [15]. While the Jewish lobby in the U.S., the most powerful special interest group in American politics, pushes the Turkish agenda in Congress, the Greek lobby, torn apart by religious and political infighting, has ceased to be an effective force [16]. Some of the known Greek stalwarts, like senator Sarbanes and Congressman Brademas, even lobbied for the release of two Mossad agents in Cyprus caught spying on the S-300 missiles for the Turks [17]. To top it all, it was reported recently that the publisher of Athens News, Yannis Horn, has donated large sums of money for the erection of a statue of Ataturk in Thessaloniki. Given Ataturk's pivotal role in the massacre of Greeks in Smyrna in 1922, in the Armenian and Pontian-Greek genocides, and in the expulsion of Greeks from Asia Minor, erecting an Ataturk monument would only manifest Greek foolhardiness [18].

Why the Israeli-Turkish Axis?

What bind the Turks and the Israelis together, besides American tutelage, are shared enemies, interests, and internal problems. Turkey, a multiethnic country faces disintegration, and Israel, surrounded by enemies, is such a multi-cultural amalgam that some Israelis refer to Israeli society as one of minorities [19]. For example, Turkey has about 15 million Kurds, maybe as many Alevis and hosts of other minorities [20]. Similarly, Israel contains about 4.75 million Jews, 887,000 Muslim Arabs, 128,000 Christians, 123,000 Druse, and another 128,000 people without religious affiliation [21]. Officially, the United States denies any direct role in bringing this military axis together. But it seems impossible that two U.S. allies could form a bilateral alliance without the approval of the United States, and this was confirmed by the Israeli Defense Minister Yltzhak Mordechai when he said that the pact between Israel and Turkey was hammered with the backing of the United States [22].

First, Israel had long sought an alliance with a Muslim non-Arab country in the Middle East, like Iran, to combat Arab rejectionism. The current political realities in Iran, however, precluded that and Israel had to settle for Turkey [23]. Similarly, Turkey has been looking for an advocate of Turkish positions in the U.S. Congress and the Jewish connection fits that role admirably. Powerful Jewish organizations, like the American Jewish Congress, B’nai B’rith, the influential American Israel Political Action Committee, and the Anti-Defamation League, among others, have become the champions of Turkey.

Second, both countries are enemies of Syria and share borders with her. Syria is claiming the Alexandretta-Hatay district given to Turkey early this century, and it is controlling the Bekaa valley in Lebanon, a Hezbollah hotbed [24]. The Turkish-Israeli alliance has in effect partially encircled Syria and this explains Syria’s backing down to Turkish demands to stop supporting the Kurds [25]. Turkey would not have confronted Syria so aggressively had it not been for its alliance with Israel [26]. Third, both countries perceive Iran and Iraq to be threats. Iran’s support of fundamentalist Muslims is viewed with alarm in Turkey, and its support of Hezbollah in Lebanon presents an intractable security problem for Israel [27]. Iraq is a sworn enemy of Israel and its recent overtures to Syria have alarmed Turkey. Fourth, both countries face intractable minority problems, Turkey with the Kurds, Alevis, and Laz who make almost half of its population, and Israel with its Israeli Arabs and the millions of Palestinians. Last but not least, both nations are international outcasts, Israel for illegally occupying Southern Lebanon and the West Bank Turkey for occupying Cyprus, and both have been accused by international organizations of serious human rights violations.

The Details

Israel’s cooperation with Turkey has provided the Jewish state with desperately needed military air space. The Israeli air forces' access to the Anatolian expanse has enabled Israel to regain the maneuvering territory it lost when the Sinai was returned to Egypt. Moreover, the agreements allow Israel to station fighter planes at Turkish front-line air bases close to the Syrian, Iraqi and Iranian borders. This would allow the Israeli air force to achieve extremely rapid air penetration of these countries [28]. Turkish F-16 pilots and crews are learning electronic warfare in Israel, Turkish squadrons of F-4 Phantom jets have been reconfigured with Israeli electronics so they can fire on Syrian surface-to-air missiles before the Syrians can fire on them, while Israeli pilots practice long-range flying over mountainous land in a potential preparation for missions against Iran [29].

Israel is also selling advanced military technologies and services to Turkey. Turkey plans to maintain readiness by buying new tanks and assault rifles, and Germany’s initial refusal to sell Leopard advanced battle tanks to Turkey, because of Turkey’s abysmal human rights record, presented Israel with a golden opportunity. Israel will produce its advanced Merkava III tanks in Turkey, and this marks the first time Israel will allow another country to purchase or build its heavy battle tank. It appears though that the German government has changed its mind recently because the Greens, members of the ruling coalition, have protested against a cabinet decision to send a Leopard prototype tank to Turkey, as a possible prelude to selling 1,000 more [30]. Turkey also plans to replace 500,000 assault rifles with newer versions and it has made a $650 million deal for Israeli Aircraft Industries to upgrade fifty-four F-4 Phantom fighters with improved firepower and better vision and electronics. Israel will finance the entire cost of the modernization [31]. Israel will also upgrade Turkish F-5 planes and M-60 tanks, a $300 million deal, and Israel reportedly also transferred secrets of MiG-29 and other sensitive military information to Turkey [32]. Israel’s Popeye I and Arrow missiles, Falcon early-warning aircraft systems, a radar system for detecting plastic and conventional mines, and fences and radars to seal off the Turkish borders with Syria and Iraq to prevent PKK infiltration are also part of the deal. The two sides also plan to invest $150 million to produce hundreds of Popeye II and Delilah long-range missiles [33].

The advantages of the Ankara-Jerusalem Axis are so huge for the Israelis that they are not selling advanced military technology to Greece, and Israel has abandoned its neutrality in the Cyprus crisis. The Israelis refused to expand military ties with Greece, despite the Israeli-Greek military cooperation agreement concluded in December 1994, and they are not bidding in Greece's plans to spend $16 billion to modernize and expand its military. Israel has refused to upgrade and modernize forty Greek air force F-4 Phantoms or to sell hi-tech weaponry to the Greek armed forces. Israel’s scanty military exports to Greece consist of minor items like flak jackets, patrol boats without armament, and detachable fuel tanks for planes [34]. Although the Israeli-Greek military cooperation agreement was renewed on October 14, 1999, by Israeli prime minister and Secretary of Defense, Mr. Barak and Mr. Tsohatzopoulos, Defense Minister of Greek, the agreement specifies only joint military exercises. Mr. Tsohatzopoulos emphasized, however, that in the new agreement, Greece may be interested in purchasing Israeli electronic warfare systems [35]. Will Israel deliver?

Just as important as the military aspects of the new Axis are its economic dimensions. Thanks to a Turkish-Israeli free-trade zone, trade between the two countries is booming, increasing by 30 percent a year. Turkey is the number-one tourist destination for Israelis, and plans exist for Turkey to send fresh water to Israel via huge bags towed through the sea or with pipelines [36]. A Turkish firm, finally, is building a terminal at Israel's main airport [37]. Israeli companies purchase Turkish-made goods, relabel them in Israel, and then funnel them duty free to the American market through the Israeli-American free-trade agreement. Israel’s supporters have even started pressuring for a U.S.-Turkey free-trade agreement [38]. Citing the precedent of the U.S.-Israel free trade agreement, Senator Moynihan, D-N.Y., has introduced legislation for a U.S.-Turkey commercial agreement [39].

On the diplomatic side, Turkey sees Israel's powerful lobby in the United States as a dream come true. Frustrated for years by the Greek and Armenian lobbies, Turkey has struggled to maintain the flow of U.S. arms, and Israel's backers here have willingly taken up the cause [40]. The Turks know that friendship with Israel means support from America. Hasan Koni, a professor of international relations at Ankara University and head of the Turkish-American Association in Turkey put it bluntly: "So why these ties? To find protection against the Western powers," he says. "When you are living in Washington, you can see the reason: You have to have a strong lobby with you. Nobody can defeat the Jewish lobby in Washington."[41] But Ankara does not rely only on the Israelis to make its case. Jewish American institutions like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the American Jewish Congress, and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs also advocate Turkish positions and demands [42]. This may explain a strange campaign of vitriolic and vicious anti-Greek articles. One of the senior editors of the ultra conservative "National Review," unashamedly asserted that the modern Greeks are in reality Turks [43]. In a similarly poisonous diatribe, Thomas O’Dwyer , in citing professor Kitto’s gripe that modern Greeks are not "his" Greeks of antiquity, blamed the Greeks for the Cyprus crisis and for every misfortune that befell the Balkans in the last thousand years [44]. In the same vein, the New York Post also informed us how "the kingdom of Torah and the Commandments... could banish the darkness of Greek culture."[45] In their haste to praise the Turks, on the other hand, their Jewish supporters are even accepting the Turkish version of the Armenian Holocaust. Pro-Israeli groups have now propagate Turkey's contention that the 1915 Turkish massacre of 1.5 million Armenians did not constitute genocide and may not have been the century's first holocaust [46]. Further, on November 8, 1998, the American Jewish Committee, the American Jewish Congress, and the Anti-Defamation League jointly sponsored a giant advertisement in the New York Times congratulating Turkey on the 75th Anniversary of the founding of the Turkish Republic. This campaign of lies and pseudo-scholarly research has as its main objective to diminish the Greeks and elevate the Turks to a position of respect they do not deserve. The Israelis are desperate for allies in the Middle East who do not question their treatment of the Palestinians, and the Turks, perpetrators of genocides, fit the bill admirably.

Obviously, the Turkish-Israeli Pact was a logical step for the Turkish military establishment. Many Third World countries maintain relations with Israel because of its close ties to the United States and this fact has not escaped the Turks who for years have been thwarted by the Greek American and Armenian American communities. Israel's sales of advanced military hardware to Turkey also allow Turkey, according to the Congressional Research Service, to circumvent U.S. and European arms embargoes and bypass the opposition of the anti-Turkish ethnic lobbies in Congress [47].

The Turkish-Israeli partnership could change the Middle East. It could form the hub of a regional partnership made up of reliable and ostensibly democratic American surrogates. Although Egypt refused an invitation to join, more states like little Kuwait may join at a later date [48]. Jordan has sent Rear Admiral Hussein Khassawneh, who is the commander of Jordan's navy, to Turkey to observe the three-day trilateral exercises between Israel, the US and Turkey code-named "Reliant Mermaid" held in January 1998 [49]. It is no wonder that the Clinton Administration sees this partnership as a cause tor celebration [50]. "We are very supportive of it" says Dana Bauer, deputy director of the Office of Southern European Affairs at the State Department. "It strengthens two pro Western allies in the region and helps both to modernize their defense capabilities in areas that are of mutual interest. We see it as a stabilizing agreement."[51] The specter of Iran and Iraq, however, should remind Washington of the limits of paternalizing unpopular regimes.

What Is to be Done?

What must the Greeks do to counterbalance, and hopefully neutralize, the Turkish-Israeli Axis? Many government officials, especially Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, are aware of the dangers. He thought that Greece should procure F-15 air superiority fighters to neutralize the expanding F-16 fleet of Turkey. Unfortunately, he was overruled by the prime minister Mr. Simitis who, with the advice of the ministry of economics, decided for the less expensive F-16. The savings would ostensibly safeguard Greece’s joining the Euro, the obsession of the current government in Greece. Did they consider why Israel has the most squadrons of F-15s after the United States?

The Turkish-Israeli connection has also caused some problems in domestic American politics, and this presents opportunities for Greek action. As pro-Israel lobbying groups work successfully on Turkey's behalf, there developed a Jewish-Armenian split on Capitol Hill and some Greek-Americans have pulled away from the Jewish state [52]. For example, when 81 Senators signed a letter in April 1998 calling on the Clinton administration to stop "using public pressure against Israel," to his credit, Paul Sarbanes of Maryland, a Greek American and a long time supporter of Israel, conspicuously refrained from joining them [53]. An aggressive and rejuvenated Greek-American lobby could successfully oppose Jewish pro-Turkish initiatives in Congress. This must be accomplished with the participation of Greek-American intellectuals.

While the Jewish-Americans have had decades to organize a potent political force in America, Greek attempts are still in their infancy. Greek Americans lack the political organization, money raising abilities, and cohesion of the American Jews. Where the American Jews, to their credit, succeeded in making the Holocaust an American institution, with a museum devoted to it, the Greeks have yet to present even rudimentary information about the slaughter of the Pontian Greeks by the Turks. While the Jewish American community almost always presents a united front, the Greek American community is split. The major Greek American organizations systematically shun Greek American scholars and lack the vision and sophistication of their Jewish counterparts. Often, they are involved in internal squabbles and fail to coordinate effectively or raise funds. The various social and cultural Greek American associations lack the expertise and the fire in their belly to be effective. For example, when some Greek Americans were pointing out the dangers of the Turkish-Israeli pact, the Archons of the Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle, an order of the Greek Orthodox Church, were awarding a medal to Elie Wiesel, a man who advocated bombing the Serbs and force them to hand over Kosovo and Metohia to the Albanians [54]. How many Greeks have been honored by American Jewish organizations at such a high level?

Greece has held military exercise near Turkey recently and has taken steps to solidify its ties with Russia, Syria, and Armenia [55]. Of special importance is the recent visit by Greek President Stephanopoulos to Iran. In talks with the Iranian religious leader, Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khameini, the two leaders agreed that Greece will be the bridge between the European and Iran. Building alliances is, of course, an integral part of a sound defense policy. Reliance on alliances, however, is not enough. The favorite maxim of the Greek government has been that the borders of Greece are the borders of the European Union. Alas, as the Kosovo disaster has shown, the European Union is incapable of taking action even when that would be in its own interests, let alone defend the borders of Greece. Only a strong Greek military machine buttressed by effective and reliable alliances should form the primary line of defense. Look at Israel. Their unyielding position has always been to form an iron wall between them and their enemies [56].

Historically, countries with large populations and large Gross Domestic Products have been effective military powers. Since Greece lacks a large population, it must develop its economy to invest in advanced military systems and present a credible deterrent to Turkish expansionism. Countries smaller than Greece, like Denmark, Belgium, and the Netherlands produce over twice the GDP per capita of Greece. The Greek economy could, conceivably, with proper economic reforms, increase its GDP and generate the sums necessary for defense.

For a start, the capital must be transferred from Athens to a new location. Rome, the capital of a country of 58 million people, has a scant 3 million population. Athens, the capital of a country of 10 million, boasts a population of 5 million. The administrative center must be moved out of Athens before the Attica region collapses under its own weight. Fourth, Greece should also reduce and privatize its gargantuan public sector. That would increase the efficiency of the Greek economy immensely. Forty some years after Germany jettisoned its only public enterprise, Volkswagen, Greece is still burdened with a huge and inefficient public sector. An ambitious 500-day privatization plan, for example, could include the sale of all government property in sealed bid auctions, and the reduction of public servants by 50 percent. Greece has almost six times the number of civil servants needed and that creates a huge deadweight loss. Many public service positions in Greece are political payoffs and perform no useful function other than pushing papers and creating red tape.

The current Greek higher education system must be scrapped. Currently, 30 to 35 thousand Greeks are studying abroad because of the archaic, paternalistic, and elitist Greek universities. This massive exodus of youthful energy and talent not only creates a "brain drain"with immense economic and political repercussions, it also costs the Greek economy tens of billions of dollars, lost tax revenues, and forfeited jobs. Why is Greece the only country in Europe whose Constitution prohibits private universities? Let private universities and colleges educate Greeks at home instead of institutions in Karatsi, Bucharest, and other exotic and questionable places [57].

The most pressing task, however, is the development of the Greek military industry. Presently, Greek industry produces only 6 percent of the needs of the Greek military, the lowest percentage of any NATO country, even Turkey. The decision to join the Eurofighter consortium is a sound one, but more needs to be done. It is sad that Greek shipyards are moth balled instead of producing a Greek superiority fleet. It is sad that the infant Greek aircraft industry only services the aircraft of the Greek air force when Turkey’s assembly lines are spitting out F-16s in a rapid pace. Greece should disregard the European Union and proceed with the rebuilding of the Greek military industry. The borders of Greece are not the borders of Germany or Norway.

The demographic problem of Greece and the reduction of births will create a shortfall of 20,000 recruits a year for the Greek armed forces. How will this shortage be dealt with? Turkey’s massive pool of draft-age youths, and its high birth rate, should inspire Greek military planners to welcome radical alternatives. One potential solution would be to expand the current ineffective draft with a massive expansion of the Greek volunteer armed forces [58]. A significant increase in compensation, might attract young Greeks to a military career, and it might even attract veterans of Greek decent from the nations of the former USSR, to serve the country. Finally, non-Greeks willing to pursue a military career with the Greek armed forces, like the Gurkhas of the British and the Foreign Legionnaires of the French, should be granted Greek citizenship in exchange for their service. After all, the Greek government granted more than 300,000 "green cards"to illegal aliens working as waiters, olive pickers, and domestic servants. There are plans to grant additional hundreds of thousands of green cards to qualified illegal immigrants. Are tomato pickers, maids, and waiters more important than soldiers? Have we forgotten that the Janissaries, Christian children, fought the battles of the Turks? Since the small number of potential draftees precludes a large army, the Greek military should practice economy of force and invest in equipment and training to create a high-tech army, like the Israeli Defense Force, capable of fighting a war with minimal losses of Greek blood.

Last but not least, new world orders and shifting alliances dictate that the Greeks should abandon their innocence with regard to weapons of strategic deterrence. Turkey plans to build two nuclear reactors only 15 miles from an active fault line and 70 miles from Cyprus. These reactors may be used by Turkey to develop a nuclear weapons program [59]. Will Israel refuse to share its nuclear secrets with Turkey when it has shared them with India and South Africa for the last 20 years? [60] Besides, there are 11 U.S.-made and controlled B-61 nuclear devices already stored at the air base of Araxos. Greece has crossed the nuclear threshold [61]. As a result, a crash program to prepare a Greek response is no longer a quixotic quest but an urgent need.

Finally, the Greek-American community must rise to the challenge. Intellectuals, wealthy members of the community, and the Grand Army of professional Greek-Americans and university students must join the struggle. The Greek-American community is in desperate need of a top level coordinating institution, like the Congress of Jewish Organizations. Such an organization that includes the presidents of all Greek-American organizations, college presidents and professors, and Greek-American politicians would strengthen our struggle to combat the efforts of the Jewish-American lobby on behalf of Turkey. The recent cooperation between Greece and Turkey because of the earthquakes will soon be forgotten as Turkey resumes its adversary positions against Greece. The artificial problems and conflicts created by the Turkish establishment are meant to divert attention from Turkey’s many predicaments like her lack of democratic institutions, her troublesome mosaic of nationalities, and her schizophrenic nationalism. This is the hard reality faced by Greece on the verge of the new millennium. But the Greeks have risen in defense of Hellenism in the past and they will rise again when tough and urgent action is needed.


Greeks everywhere must confront the Turkish-Israeli challenge. First, a strong Greek military is only the beginning. In this monopolar age of one superpower, Greece should remain a staunch NATO member, but demand that the United States be more evenhanded in the Greek-Turkish dispute. Second, just as Russia did in 1989, Greece must also revamp and streamline its economy. Greece cannot afford to be a country with an inefficient pseudo-socialist economy. The huge Greek bureaucracy must be radically reduced. Civil servant unions, for example, paralyze the country at will because their members have both tenure and the right to strike. Similarly, the overly permissive Greek political atmosphere coupled with the "party" culture of modern Greeks cripple the economy. The underground economy, the large numbers of Greeks studying abroad, and the enormous external and internal debts weaken Greek defenses and mandate reform. Instead of wasting resources in vain projects, like the Athens Metro and the Olympic Games, Greece should promote economic development and educate Greek youth at home. It is pitiful that GDR70 billion for the Olympic games must be raised from gambling, a video Lotto scheme [62]. Third, every public enterprise, the airlines, the utilities, the tourist installations, even the management of the museums must be privatized. Last but not least, Greece should finally tap the long-neglected but immense potential of the Greek-American community, and, as Israel does with Jewish-Americans, recruit Greek-Americans for all important tasks and functions of government. The road will be long and arduous but the benefits will be great.

The Turkish-Israeli opportunistic alliance will be a Pyrrhic victory for these two ailing nations because it is destined to harm the United States severely. This pact, despite the efforts of the new Jordanian King, has infuriated not only about a billion Moslem, especially the Arab League, but also Greece, Armenia, and Bulgaria, among others. Under severe criticism, Mr. Demirel had to leave abruptly, and in protest during its last meeting in Teheran. Furthermore, as the recent earthquake disaster has revealed, there are deep and frightening fissures in Turkish society and a striking inefficiency of the state machinery that functions under the strict control and supervision of the army. The Turkish top brass regularly observes, and intimidates, from the galleries the proceedings in the Turkish parliament.

The Pentagon is extremely concerned about Turkey's stability [63]. The Turkish military leaders appear oblivious to monumental societal problems besieging Turkey and are determined to spend $31 billion in the next decade, and $150 billion in the next 25 years, on military hardware that will solve none of Turkey's serious internal problems [64]. This sounds like a replay of the story of the Shah of Iran. On the Israeli side, that society appears so weary about the nation's garrison status, and the serious losses of the occupation force in Southern Lebanon, that one quarter of the potential recruits now choose not to do their duty [65]. It would appear that Israel has lost its nerve, and its intellectual elite even rejects the justification of its existence and stares at it withe the hostile eyes of Israel’s sworn enemies [66].

lt is abundantly clear at this point, that the main loser in this unholy enterprise will be Israel. The children of the WWII Genocide have made a morally absurd pact with the children of the ruthless perpetrators of another [67]. By the year 2025, Israel will be engulfed by a sea of 370 million hostile Moslems (excluding Turkey), and with grossly inadequate water resources to boot. Israel will be followed by Turkey, with its schizophrenic policies and unrealistic denial of her minority problems, the outdated Kemalism, and with Islamic fundamentalism boiling just under the surface. Last but not least, the United States will be drawn closer and closer into a confrontation with Islam (total population of 2 billion by 2025) and our embassies will resemble fortresses amenable to periodic closures for fear of terrorist attacks.

The rational approach for America to secure peace in the Middle East is by a swift policy realignment. The United Sates should prevail upon Turkey and Israel to stop obscuring and camouflaging their enormous internal problems with grandiose aspirations of regional superpowers. Turkish troops should be withdrawn from Cyprus and Turkey should stop her machinations and bellicosity in the Aegean [68]. Israel should be encouraged to strike the best deal possible with the Palestinian Authority, recognize an independent Palestinian state, and to provide financial and expert assistance for its development into a viable nation.

The United States must abandon its dual containment strategy toward Iran and Iraq. America should normalize relations with Iran with an engagement policy similar to that towards China. Iran’s population of 66.2 million, estimated to exceed 97.3 million by the year 2025, its geographic advantage in channeling the Caspian sea oil to the West and Japan more cheaply, though existing pipelines to Abadan instead of the route through Turkey to Ceyhan, make a U.S.-Iranian rapprochement a certainty. History, demography and the shifting sands of American, Russian, and European Union politics and interests, in the context of a global economy, are against the destabilizing Turkish-Israeli alliance and will make it irrelevant and counterproductive to long-term American interests. Moreover, the crucial task for the Greek-American and the Armenian-American communities, and their allies in the United States, should be to work diligently and with determination to convince Congress and the Administration that the crude power games played by Turkey and Israel in the Middle East constitute an enormous inflammatory danger to regional peace and to vital American interests in that part of the world.

Finally, a recent report by Robert Cullen of the National Geographic, emphasizes that Caspian oil reserves have been grossly exaggerated and the 1997 output was similar to Argentina's insted to the oil giants of the Persian gulf. A geologist called the oil boom "a scam." Another report estimates the Caspian oil to be about 2% of proven reserves and a mere one thirtieth of the Gulf reserves , and as such it hardly constitues "a vital American interst."

It would appear that raw political, and not energy considerations , are the driving force, behind the nonsense of putative geopolitical significance of ther Caspian sea region and the need for arming Turkey to the teeth.


1. Proini, October 11, 1999.

2. The Greek American, January 15 and 22, 1999.

3. "Greece condemns Turkish-Israeli military alliance," ArabicNews.com, 11/27/97.

4. Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesman, Jerusalem, February 25, 1998, http://www.embajada-israel.es/coms/c01-03_98/c-0225-1.html.

5. Jean Christou, "Weizman: we understand your concern about Turkish pact," Cyprus Mail, Wednesday, November 4, 1998.

6. New York Times, Op Ed Page, June 16, 1996.

7. Friedmam, Thomas, "Israelis & Turks Form Military Alliance Against the Arabs," New York Times, Op Ed Page, June 16, 1996.

8. Tirman, John, "Improving Turkey's "Bad Neighborhood": Pressing Ankara for Rights and Democracy," The World Policy Journal, Spring 1998.

9. Hartung, William D., Weapons at War, a World Policy Institute Issue Brief, ARMS TRADE RESOURCE CENTER, May 1995, pp. 5-8.

10. Ibid.

11. The Economist, October 16-22, 1999.

12. Berktay Halil, "National memories: Understanding the Other, Taming Your Own," Point of Reference, summer 1998, p. 30.

13. ArabicNews.Com, Turkish pilots trained in Israel, 7/14/98.

14. The Jerusalem Post, September 24, 1999, pp. 26-27.

15. Tirman, John, "If Turkey's Human Rights Record Bars a U.S. Arms Sale, Israel Will Fill the Gap: The Ankara-Jerusalem Axis," The Nation, January 4, 1999, p. 20.

16. Pat Buchanan has referred to Capitol Hill as "Israeli-occupied territory." (St. Louis Post Dispatch, 10/20/90).

17. Hadjikiriakos, Andreas, "Greek American politicians lobbied for release of spies," The National Herald, February 6-7, 1999.

18. The American Hellenic Media Project [ahmp@idt.net], Sunday, August 08, 1999 1:10 AM.

19. David Makovsky and Margot Dudkevitch, "Not a Melting Pot," The Jerusalem Post, electronic edition, Friday, November 5, 1999.

20. Waldman, Peter, " Civil War in Turkey Will Be Greece’s Opportunity," the Wall Street Journal, March 17, 1995.

21. Rozeman, Eric, "Israeli Arabs and he Future of the Jewish State," Middle East Quarterly, September 1999, p. 16.

22. Washburn, Jennifer, "Power Block: Turkey and Israel Lock Arms," The Progressive, December 1998, p. 20.

23. Findley, Paul, Deliberate Deceptions: Facing the facts about the U.S.-Israeli relationship, Brooklyn, N.Y., An imprint of the Chicago Review Press, Inc. 1993.

24. The B'nai B'rith World Center in Jerusalem, Press Release, "Turkey and Israel: Shared Enemies, Shared Interests," by Alan M Schneider, Director B'nai B'rith World Center, Jerusalem, 2/19/1999.

25. Dorsey, James M., "What’s behind the Turkish-Syrian crisis?" The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, December 1998.

26. Kaylani, Nabil, Israeli-Turkish Alliance may prove to be new destabilizing factor in Middle East," The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, January/February 1999, p. 47.

27. Pipes, Daniel, "Lebanon turns into Israel’s Vietnam," The Wall Street Journal, March 10, 1999.

28. The Egyptian English Weekly, "Al-Ahram" of Al-Ahram Weekly, February 12 -18, 1998.

29. Pipes, Daniel, "A New Axis: The Emerging Turkish-Israeli Entente," The National Interest, Winter 1997/98, p. 31.

30. The Economist, Electronic Edition, Oct. 30th - Nov. 5th, 1999.

31. Ibid.

32. The B'nai B'rith World Center in Jerusalem, op. cit.

33. "Israeli Army Chief's Turkey Visit to Boost Military Ties, Part II," Vassilis Alexandris , Sun, 12 Oct. 1997 23:48:25 +0300. Also, see Pipes, Daniel, "A New Axis: The Emerging Turkish-Israeli Entente," The National Interest, Winter 1997/98, p. 31.

34. Amikam Nachmani, "The Remarkable Turkish-Israeli Tie," Middle East Quarterly, June 1998.

35. Eleytherotypia, Electronic edition, October 15, 1999.

36. The Jerusalem Post, October 8, 1999, p. 30.

37. Pipes, Daniel, "The Real ‘New Middle East,’ Commentary, November 1999, p. 25.

38. Frank, Isaiah, "A Place for Turkey," The Washington Post, Tuesday, September 28, 1999; Page A25.

39. Proini, electronic edition, Thursday, November 4, 1999.

40. Tirman, John, 1999, op. cit.

41. Peterson, Scott, "Rocking the Mideast With an Unlikely Alliance," The Christian Science Monitor, Friday February 27, 1998.

42. See note 16 above.

43. Klinghoffer, David, "Greek Tragedy," The National Review, May 17, 1999.

44. O’Dwyer, Thomas, "Greeks Bearing Gripes," Jerusalem Post, May 27, 1999.

45. "Understanding the Meaning of Chanukah" (12/16/97), the Special New York Post Chanukah Advertising Supplement, presented by the Jewish Post of New York and Talkline Communications Network.

46. Fisk, Robert, "Turkey's Israel Alliance - Working in Both Washington and the Middle East,"

Mid-East Realities (http://www.middleeast.org/merx.htm) - Washington - 2/24/1999. Robert Fisk writes for the London newspaper The Independent which recently published this article.

47. Washburn, Jennifer, 1998, op. cit.

48. Mahfouz, Naguib, "Who's the enemy?" Al-Ahram Weekly, 17 - 23 September 1998. Based on an interview by Mohamed Salmawy.

49. "Jordan's observer role in maneuvers encounters stiff opposition," http://star.arabia.com/980108/JO2.html, 8 January 1998

50. Pipes, Daniel, 1997/98, op. cit.

51. Jennifer Washburn, 1998, op. cit.

52. Ottaway, David and Dan Morgan, "Jewish-Armenian Split Spreads on the Hill. Strategic Issues Put Onetime Lobbying Allies at Odds," The Washington Post, February 9, 1999. p. A15.

53. Pipes, Daniel, 1999, op. cit.

54. "Archbishop presents Archons Award to Elie Wiesel," The Orthodox Observer, March 1999. See also Kalmoukos, Theodore, "Finances of the Archons of St. Andrew in bad shape," The National Herald, February 6-7, 1999, p. 4.

55. Pipes, Daniel, 1999, op. cit.

56. Honig, Sarah, "The Iron Wall," The Jerusalem Post, 9/24/99, p. 30.

57. Mr. K. Karamanlis, leader of the New Democracy Party, on 10/14/1999 presented a plan on how to abolish entrance exams in Greek Universities and to establish private institutions of higher learning in Greece, see Proini, 10/15/1999.

58. Some political circles in Greece favor that solution. See the article about the Greek Neo-Liberals by Mr. Politis; Ta Nea, October 11, 1999.

59. www.diaspora-net.org/nuclear/emailttofax.htm

60. Coldwell, Dominic, "Still in the closet, barely," Al-Ahram Weekly, 30 September - 6 October, 1999, p. 8.

61. Ta Nea, Wednesday, October 27, 1999.

62. Eleytherotypia, Electronic Edition, Oct. 15, 1999.

63. Tirman, John, 1998, op. cit.

64. Hugh Pope, Hugh, "Turks vow to spend heavily as military expands," The Wall Street Journal, Oct. 5, 1 999.

65. Shiloh, Dina, "Dissent on Military service in Israel," San Francisco Chronicle, October 11, 1999.

66. Podhoretz, Norman, "Has Israel Lost its Nerve?" The Wall Street Journal, September 10, 1999, p. A18.

67. Spyropoulos, P.D., Executive Director, American Hellenic Media Project, P.O. Box 1150, New York, N.Y. 10028-0008, ahmp@hri.org, www.ahmp.org., Letter to New York Times.

68. Tirman, John, 1998, op. cit.