ASTORIA – Members of the community joined PSEKA at an event in honor of Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey and in support of his reelection campaign. The fundraiser was held May 11 at Dionysos Restaurant in Astoria in a relaxed atmosphere where the attendees had the opportunity to chat with Sen. Menendez.
“He may be the only person in the U.S. Senate who understands the Greek national issues and supports us more than anyone else, Sen. Robert Menendez. We live in dangerous times and we need support,” PSEKA President Philip Christopher said as he introduced Sen. Menendez.
Christopher also referred to the way in which Menendez promoted the Cyprus issue and the problem of Turkish provocation when he heard the questions the senator asked Jonathan Cohen- Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs covering Cyprus, Greece and Turkey. Menendez is the top Democrat on the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee.
Among those who expressed their thanks and support were businessman and philanthropist Nikos Mouyiaris, Hellenic Federation of New Jersey President Savas Tsivicos, Federation of Cypriot American Organizations President Kyriakos Papastylianou, the Vice-President and a personal friend of Sen. Menendez, Tasos Zambas, former chairman of the Chian Federation and entrepreneur George Almiroudis, and Pan-Macedonian Association USA President Dimitris Filippidis.
Also present were Nicos Tziazas, Savas Konstantinides, and Greek American Homeowners Association President George Kitsios.
“A new strategy in the Eastern Mediterranean”
Sen. Menendez thanked Hellenism for the support, and then spoke about the need for a new geopolitical strategy in the Eastern Mediterranean, removing Turkey as the “bridge” between East and West, and focusing now on Greece, Cyprus, and other countries in the region.
“We need a new strategy in the Eastern Mediterranean, which will move away from Turkey. Not for the Greek community, but for reasons of international security,” Menendez said.
At the same time, the New Jersey senator said he would convince his colleagues who do not have a profound knowledge of the subject to support his views.
“But in order to do so, and to be back on the Foreign Relations Committee, I must be re-elected to the Senate,” he said, focusing on the need for financial support for his candidacy against the multimillionaire Republican candidate Bob Hugin.
“In these elections, I have a very strong financial opponent against me, who has already allocated $3 million, all from his own funds, for an advertising campaign. The main goal of this campaign is to attack me. I have not given a cent to the media and I never had such an economic background. That is why my campaign needs financial support.”
“There is no conflict but …”
Speaking to the media, Menendez acknowledged the situation in the Aegean, with the violations and prolonged Turkish provocations. Asked about the possibility of a heated episode, he replied that he is against it and it should not happen, but noted that Greece has its right to react.
“I hope there will not be a heated episode. Nevertheless, Greece has the right, if it is threatened, to protect its territorial integrity,” said Menendez.