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Editorial

A Turkish-American Television Station

The Turks just took a strategic step of enormous importance.

They are trying to improve their military strength in the Aegean and elsewhere by making a sideways maneuver: by gaining political influence within the United States.

To do this, the Turkish-Americans have set up their own channel, called TASC TV, an initiative of the Turkish-American National Steering Committee. This news is a ‘bomb’ for Hellenism, and it was ‘buried’ in an article concerning Turkish-American relations.

On the occasion of the launch of the station, Erdogan made a statement about the direction and goals it should have. Among other things, Erdogan said, "Our relations have been severely tested recently. […] The United States has not offered the desired support and solidarity to Turkey."

With this statement, he is making a huge leap in exploiting Turkish-Americans and their friends for promoting Ankara’s objectives regarding Turkish-Americans.

Turkey decided – rightly – that it could not establish a station directly by itself. It would be treated as mere propaganda. So, instead, Erdogan placed this task under the auspices of a coordinating committee of Turkish-Americans. Without a doubt, it is funded by Ankara.

The Turks are watching with concern the activities of Greek-Americans in our national affairs and believe that we are seriously influencing American foreign policy.

They themselves have been spending a lot of money on lobbyists for a long time. But they see that this is not enough.

So, they decided to attack. To gain – I repeat – political power. That is a relatively easy thing to do in today's American political reality.

So now, because of their serious problems with the United States, they have decided that they must not only copy what we do, but also surpass the influence of our Community.

Turkish-Americans are far fewer than we are in America and they arrived much more recently as immigrants. On the other hand, there are many Turkish-Germans. But military decisions are made in the United States.

So the Turks must, with the Turkish-Americans as a bridge, reach deeper into American society. To push them to vote for politicians of their choice. To organize conferences. To connect with American journalists. To increase the reasons why American politicians would want to look at Turkey with a different eye.

Beware: Turkey is not relying on a Turkish channel broadcasting in the United States to do its work. The Turkish government knows that a purely Turkish channel will not have substantial impact on the Turkish-American community. They know that they do not ‘speak the language’ of their Turkish-American counterparts.

So, they are organizing themselves in a smart, dynamic way – for more long term results.

As I have observed for decades, Greece over time – with the exception of the period after the fall of the junta – either ignored, devalued, mocked, or took Hellenes Abroad for granted.

Even in the matter of voting, Turkey is light years ahead of Greece. Turks living abroad are full-fledged voters, with the same rights as the Turks living in Turkey.

Greece did not want to see the issue of Hellenes Abroad for what it is: an issue of national importance. An issue that transcends party interests.

They did not want to see and understand that the Greek Diaspora in the U.S. is worth as much as many warships and planes in the Aegean.

They will now be forced to react, with this Turkish media invasion in the United States.

It is not too late to formulate a national policy, but I am very afraid that with Tsipras in the ranks of the official opposition, this will not happen.

I wish I was wrong.

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