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Restore Faith in Haiti's Democratic Process

Regarding the front-page article ''Lack of a US-Haiti Pact on Boat People Clouds Their Fate on the Seas,'' May 2: Haiti's fragile democracy is still hampered by right-wing paramilitaries, an ineffective interim police force, and no functioning justice system. Free and fair elections are likely to occur only if all sectors feel safe to participate. We will know in a few months whether, after so much effort to ''restore democracy,'' the United States and the international community truly support the democratic process.

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Though disarmament has been continually called for by the Aristide government, it was not seriously attempted during the US military occupation. Now, the UN forces will be faced with trying to oversee elections with nearly all the risks and difficulties of the coup years, yet without concerted international support. The potential for a repeat of a refugee outflow is worthy of note; if it occurs, it will grab our attention. But to prevent it, the international community ought to be sincerely supporting the democratic process in Haiti so that Haitians can build a civil society by and for themselves.

Judith Kelly

Arlington, Va.

Turkey fails on human rights scale

Regarding the opinion-page article ''Turkey Merits US Backing as It Hunts Terrorists,'' April 18: This piece presents an interesting prospective. Turkey has been harshly condemned by the international community, especially by its European allies, for its recent attacks against its own Kurdish citizens and those protected by the US-led effort -- known as Operation Provide Comfort -- in northern Iraq. Tragically, the United States has not voiced strong condemnation, careful not to offend its NATO ally.

Recent offensive upon the Kurds of Anatolia by the government of Turkey demonstrates a recurring disregard for international standards of human rights, which include a two-year blockade of the Republic of Armenia to its north, the occupation of Cypress to the west, cross-border and internal strikes against the Kurdish minority, and the failure to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian medical assistance to ethnic minorities within and around its borders.

Whether it be the Turkish genocide of the Armenians in 1915, the massacres of a half-million Black Sea Greeks in the 1920s, or the massive uprooting of more than 2 million Kurds and the destruction of more than 2,000 Kurdish villages today, Turkey fails to demonstrate a minimum constant standard of human rights.

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When Turkey meets its responsibilities to its own citizens and neighbors, then Turkey will merit backing of the United States and world community.

Anthony J. Barsamian

Wellesley Hills, Mass.

FDR's answer to communism

The author of the opinion-page article ''Roll Back to the Days Before FDR? No Way,'' April 21, is right to admire, even revere, the achievements of Franklin Roosevelt, but his focus on the ''alphabet soup'' agencies of the New Deal is somewhat misplaced. Roosevelt's most important accomplishment was not the establishment of any particular program or agency, but how he restored faith in our democratic institutions.

It should always be remembered that in 1932 and 1933, at the bottom of the Great Depression, there were many calls in this country for some kind of dictatorship as the answer to the crisis. These calls were not confined to the political fringes; they came from Wall Street conservatives and leading intellectuals.

The New Deal did not end the Depression, but by reassuring the people that a democratic government would do everything possible to alleviate the economic crisis, Roosevelt headed off any chance that this country would turn to fascism or communism.

Mark Wylie

Los Angeles

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