NEW YORK – New Yorkers living in the northern Bronx and the southern half of Westchester County, including the suburban cities of Mount Vernon, Yonkers, New Rochelle, and Rye have a strong impact on U.S. policy toward the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Greece, and Cyprus in the Democratic primary election on Tuesday, June 23. These voters will determine whether or not a longtime advocate for Hellenic and Orthodox issues who serves as the powerful Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee – Congressman Eliot Engel – will be reelected.
Chairman Engel began his Congressional career by solving the murder of 16-year-old Greek-American Andrew Kasapis and 1,000 other Hellenes at the hands of the Turks during their illegal invasion of Cyprus. The young Engel would not accept the State Department’s 10-year refusal to investigate what Turkey had done following the capture of Andrew Kasapis of Detroit, four other Americans, and 1,000 Cypriot children, women and men. The law Engel enacted revealed that Andrew was executed with a bullet in his head, as were the other Americans and the 1,000 children, women and men of Cyprus captured alive.
Today, Chairman Engel oversees the entire House of Representatives on foreign affairs matters that include the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Greece, and Cyprus. As Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, he is the only person able to speak for the entire Congress on foreign policy matters. This voice for the Greek-American community’s issues will be lost if Engel loses next week.
Engel has led Congressional efforts over the years to get the American government to press Turkey to allow religious freedom for the Ecumenical Patriarch, the spiritual head of the second-largest Christian Church in the world. Engel has pushed to return thousands of Church properties taken by the Turkish state, to reopen Halki, the Greek Orthodox Seminary, to select succeeding Ecumenical Patriarchs without the involvement of the Muslim President of Turkey, to protect our Ecumenical Patriarch from recurring death threats, to maintain the world-famous Aghia Sophia as a museum and defended against its conversion to a mosque. Engel has stepped up every time to defend against limitations on our Ecumenical Patriarch’s religious freedom.
As a leader in the Jewish community, Engel has been instrumental to Congressional actions that have helped move Greece and Cyprus under the protection of America’s policies toward Israel. He helped move legislation through his Foreign Affairs Committee that included Greece and Cyprus with Israel under the heading of America’s Eastern Mediterranean Partnership. The presentation of these three countries together is particularly important now, as Turkey moves aggressively against Cyprus and Greece, to drill for hydrocarbons in these two countries’ Exclusive Economic Zones. These recent Engel actions for Greece and Cyprus follow decades of such assistance.
As Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman, Engel assisted Washington’s knowledge of the strong opposition to the Turkish occupation of Cyprus by Turkish-Cypriot leaders in addition to the Greek-Cypriots. Very recently, the leader of Turkish-Cypriots called publicly for the replacement of Turkish troops occupying Cyprus with Greek and other non-Turkish troops.
For some unknown reason, Congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) and her ‘crew’ have a Congressional voting record that favors one of world’s leading violators of human rights, Turkish President Erdogan. AOC is leading the effort to defeat Chairman Engel in the Democratic primary election this Tuesday, June 23. They are funneling up to half-a-million dollars to Engel’s opponent’s campaign.
Hellenic and Orthodox leaders are asking those who can’t vote in Chairman Engel’s district to please help by contributing to Chairman Engel’s re-election campaign at www.engelforcongress.com/June18. And they are asking all Hellenes and Orthodox Christians in the New York areas mentioned above to turn out to vote in record numbers in order to preserve Chairman Engel’s important voice of support for the Ecumenical Patriarch, Greece, and Cyprus.