NEW YORK – Endy Zemenides, Executive Director of the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC), and Aram Hamparian, the Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) joined Eraklis Diamataris, publisher of the Ethnikos Kirix, for a session of the online “TNH Discussions”.
During the discussion, important issues related to the common opportunities and challenges of Greece and Armenia were raised, especially the great common dangers they face from the intransigence and provocations of Turkey.
Both Zemenides and Hamparian referred to the efforts that have intensified over the last ten years, through which – even if they went through a period of setbacks and skepticism in Washington – they managed to show the U.S. political leadership the real face of Turkey’s and their actual role in the East Mediterranean region, with the result Turkey is no longer given a blank check”, but decision are made after careful consideration of the realities and geopolitical factors in the region.
Hamparian first emphasized that that Turkey continues to have significant influence and strongly promotes its interests, but he also noted that the key steps in defense of Armenia and Greece have already been taken, acknowledging the efforts of all groups and individuals involved.
He agrees with Zemenides, suggesting that it should be a general policy rule not to give Turkey a blank check as Ankara pursues its ambitions and promotes its positions. He added that the diasporas and the homelands can now better fight for their positions and develop their arguments, for example, why the United States should not agree to F-16 upgrades for Turkey. Hamparian also spotlighted that it’s important that foreign policy is decided in Congress, where the officials are elected.
Zemenides echoed Hamparian, citing as another example of the success of recent efforts the campaign he had launched to end Turkey’s involvement in the F-35 program. He noted that initially some people did not take that initiative seriously, but in the end the effort succeeded, gaining bipartisan support in the Congress.
It is recalled that Turkey is still pushing Washington to upgrade its existing F-16s, while it is also noted that efforts are underway to prevent the White House from succumbing to blackmail on that matter – which it is noted here is dicey because there is a lot of money to be made by well-connected U.S. defense contractors.
The Turkish government and media are focused on the issue. Indeed, a few days ago, the former Deputy Foreign Minister and current Adviser to the publishers of The National Herald, Antonis Diamataris, was attacked by Turkish newspapers and websites for his recent commentary on the issues.
For the full video please visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSTBqsTCszQ