Michael Turner (R-OH)
March 23, 2012 – Washington – The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) commends Ohio Congressman Michael Turner for introducing the NATO Enhancement Act yesterday. As companion legislation to the bill previously introduced by Senator Richard Lugar, the Act boosts NATO expansion prospects, and calls for specific support of Macedonia’s NATO bid, as well as those of Bosnia, Montenegro, and the Republic of Georgia.
“(Eastern European) nations have a mutual goal of freedom from tyranny and the right to a collective defense. I call on the Administration and my colleagues in Congress to recognize that countries such as Bosnia, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Georgia should be afforded NATO membership… NATO not only serves to protect our collective nations, but our homeland as well…” said Turner.
“Ohio is home to some of the oldest Macedonian communities in the United States, where immigrants started arriving in the early 1900s to help build this great country” said UMD President Metodija A. Koloski. “It’s encouraging to see Congressman Turner, a member of the Congressional Caucus on Macedonia, getting engaged in this way on behalf of his constituents. We hope that reasonable voices from Congressman Turner, Senator Lugar, and Congresswoman Miller are heard loud and clear at the White House and at NATO headquarters, and we hope that Macedonia is granted its NATO membership without delay.”
UMD Chairman Stojan Nikolov added: “The Greek government’s stalemate tactics continue at the moment, with Macedonia being kept out of NATO for artificial reasons. The country has fulfilled every requirement for membership, and has been a steadfast ally in the organization’s military and humanitarian missions. Furthermore, the International Court of Justice confirmed that Greece has no right under international law to break its treaty and impede Macedonia’s NATO membership, as it did in 2008, and as it continues to do. Hopefully, the efforts of Congressman Turner will help to break this impasse, and Greece will respect international law for a change.”
“U.S. lawmakers are starting to see through Greek deceptions and selective memory,” said Aleks Mitreski, UMD Vice President, “By intentionally misrepresenting their country’s sovereign debt levels for a decade, Athens is now threatening to damage the global economy and bankrupt the European Union. Meanwhile, Greek foreign policy on Macedonia destabilizes regional security in the Balkans, and Greek domestic policy continues to oppress the large ethnic Macedonian community in northern Greece. If Athens is permitted to break yet another treaty, and continue to block Macedonia’s NATO membership, then it will only encourage more duplicity in other areas. ”
Mitreski added: “Greece’s false arguments against Macedonia must not be allowed to hold NATO enlargement hostage.”