Today, there are more than 1.3 million American citizens of Greek ancestry residing in the United States, and a thriving Greek-American cultural community. Our political tradition is steeped in Greek philosophical thought. Greece is a strategic U.S. ally, and Brad Sherman is proud to take part in efforts to strengthen cooperation between Athens and Washington.
Brad Sherman is strongly opposed to Turkey's 36-year illegal occupation of Cyprus. Today, there are still about 36,000 Turkish troops occupying the north. They stand as a barrier against the reunification of Cyprus. Congressman Sherman believes that the Turkish military occupation of Cyprus must end, and Cyprus must be reunified.
Visa Waiver Program
On March 9, 2010, the Department of Homeland Security finally announced the designation of Greece as a member of the Visa Waiver program. This is a significant improvement to the original administration of the program, which denied Greek eligibility in the program and was unfair to Greek citizens wanting to visit the U.S.
Congressman Sherman took part in the effort to ensure Greece's designation in the Visa Waiver program. To push the administration to take this issue seriously, Congressman Sherman cosponsored during the last session of Congress legislation which designated Greece as a Visa Waiver program country.
Support for the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople
Religious freedom is a fundamental human right, and support for the rights of the Ecumenical Patriarch is no exception. Brad Sherman has made it clear that the Turkish government must stop interfering in the affairs of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The Turkish requirement that only Turkish citizens can be selected as the Ecumenical Patriarch is unacceptable.
In March, Brad Sherman cosponsored a resolution calling on Turkey to respect the rights and religious freedoms of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. This resolution was added to a larger piece of legislation that reauthorizes the programs of the State Department. The bill, including the resolution, passed the House of Representatives.
The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia:
Opposing Foreign Claims to Greek Territory
Brad Sherman opposed the former Bush Administration when they recognized the government in Skopje as the "Republic of Macedonia" in 2004. Previously, the United States had referred to the country governed in Skopje as "The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" (FYROM). The Bush Administration made this decision without any prior consultation with Congress or our NATO allies.
It is important that the government in Skopje decides on an official name for its country that in no way allows for territorial claims on the Greek Province of Macedonia. The government of Greece has recently said that it is willing to accept use of the word "Macedonia" in the future name for FYROM as long as there is a geographic qualifier to make clear that the government in Skopje has no desire to expand into the Greek province of Macedonia.