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Cuban detainee challenge

Thank you for the balanced articles and editorials regarding the Cuban detainees, Nov. 24 and 25. The United States government and its Immigration and Naturalization Service could have done a better job of anticipating the difficulty, perhaps preventing the uprisings. But the US should stop repeatedly berating itself for failing to live up to the highest judicial standard in every respect and in every case. It is good that so many around the world look to the US as a haven; it is sad that they are often prompted to do so because conditions in their countries are often so severe.

Growth in the number of immigrants to the United States has already changed the makeup of many cities such as Miami and Los Angeles. We can work for the best and most humanitarian solutions to this situation without criticizing the US unmercifully for each lapse in living up to its highest ideals.

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Soviet-bloc nations face a different situation: Barbed wire fences along their borders keep their people from escaping.

The editorial ``Cubans: case by case,'' Nov. 25, states: ``That the prisoners involved evidently prefer legal limbo in the United States to life in the socialist paradise of Cuba must be at least an embarrassment to the Castro regime.'' This is to the point. Gladys Abell Grand Junction, Colo.

Where are all the secular critics of church-and-state involvement? Why aren't they raising their alarmist voices over church ``interference'' in government affairs? Most Americans were grateful for the church ``interference'' of Roman Catholic Bishop Agust'in Rom'an's peaceful resolution of the Cuban prison hostage crisis, something the government was unable to do on its own. Such successful mediation should serve as a strong rebuke to those historical revisionists who cry that the Founding Fathers wanted a ``wall of separation'' between church and state. Do not the church and state have common basic goals? Are they not both committed to education, health care, and justice? Eric Steven Bower Executive Director Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights Chicago Chapter

Human rights in Turkey The recent reelection of Turkish Prime Minister Turgut Ozal has been hailed by some as a vote for stability [``Turkish premier scores comfortable win,'' Dec. 1].

Yet Mr. Ozal's political future and his desire to make Turkey a Western-style nation based on democratic principles are on tenuous ground.

Turkey still has a long way to go before it can be accepted as a true democracy.

One major stumbling block is its poor record on human rights.

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A 1987 report of the Helsinki Watch Committee documents the torture of those in police detention in Turkey as a routine practice. The report describes the Kurds, an ethnic minority of more than 10 million, as severely repressed by the government; Kurds are forbidden to speak their own language or practice their customs.

In a press conference after his reelection, Ozal promised to make Turkey ``a much better country'' over the next five years.

We can only hope that his pledge includes progress on the critical issues raised by the European Parliament and by international human rights organizations. Ross Vartian Washington Armenian Assembly of America

The recent elections in Turkey mark the revival of democratic norms after years of military rule. Prime Minister Turgut Ozal, who won a substantial majority in the National Assembly, is now in a position to address the problems, domestic and foreign, confronting his country.

One of these is how to obtain full membership in the European Community (EC), a cherished Turkish goal.

Mr. Ozal could send a clear signal in a simple way to those EC members inclined to blackball Turkey for its poor human rights record. He could drop all charges against Abdullah Basturk and other convicted members of the Turkish Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions.

Mr. Basturk has been adopted by Amnesty International as a prisoner of conscience; local adoption group 56 in Lexington, Mass., has been working on his behalf since 1982.

It is out of deep respect for the Turkish Republic and its struggle toward full democracy that we call on its leaders to take the obvious, but significant, next step. Edwin A. Cranston Lexington, Mass. Amnesty International USA

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