NEW YORK – Greek and Cypriot-American community leaders, including a heartening turnout by young professionals, gathered for a fundraiser in Manhattan in support of the re-election of Congresswoman Niki Tsongas.
Greetings were offered by Philip Christopher, a member of the host committee that included Dennis Mehiel and Nikos Mouyiaris.
The veterans reminisced about Tsongas’ husband, the late Senator Paul Tsongas, who ran for president in 1992 and was a stalwart in the community’s efforts to strengthen U.S. relations with Greece and Cyprus and to end the illegal Turkish occupation.
The guests encouraged Tsongas to be a champion for the community on issues such as support for Greece, the plight of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the name dispute with FYROM, and to shine a spotlight on Turkey’s current actions, including recent provocations in Cyprus, that demonstrate its unreliability as a U.S. ally.
Tsongas agreed with Christopher that Turkey is “taking advantage of the moment,” when the world is focused on the ISIS crisis, though a number of guests noted that has long been Ankara’s modus operandi.
Savas Tsivicos, President of the Hellenic Federation of NJ said, “We are not saying America should cut off relations with Turkey…but they should be even handed. We cannot call someone an ally,” and ignore them when they take action opposing the U.S. over and over again.
Andreas Comodromos, Founding President of the Cyprus-US Chamber of Commerce, expressed everyone’s disappointment in the lukewarm statement of the State Department: ”They did not say ‘Turkey get your warships out of there are go home.”
In response to the request to send a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, she said I can’t promise the State Department is going to be receptive given the many issues it is dealing with at this moment in time but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t make the case, and thanked the participants “for keeping an important issues alive. Your role is invaluable. “
PHOTO CAPTION: Among those present at the event were: Savas Tsivikos, Rep. Niki Tsongas, Despina Axiotakis, Christo, Bill Matsikoudis, Aristo Constantine, Andreas Constantine, Andreas Comodromos, Mihalis Hatziloukas, Vasos Vasiliou, Nick Karakostas, Andrew Gounardes, Philip Christopher and Tasos Pardalis.