Five influential members of Congress, who oppose President Carter's proposed lifting of the U.S. arms embargo against Turkey, predicted yesterday that the plan will be rejected by a "significant majority" of Congress.
The five, all normally loyalist members of the president's Democratic Party, are Reps. John Brademas (Ind.), the House majority whip; Benjamin S. Rosenthal (N.Y.) a senior member of the House International Relations Committee, and Mario Biaggi (N.Y.), and Sens. Paul S. Sarbanes (MD.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Thomas F. Eagleton (Mo.).
At a joint press conference, they charged that the new administration approach to Turkey represents a reversal of Carter's campaign pledges to oppose renewed military aid to Turkey until the Turkish government makes concessions on Cyprus.
The embargo was voted by Congress in 1975 under heavy pressure from Gree-American voters angered by Turkey's invasion of Cyprus.Turkey continues to occupy 40 percent of that island country, whose population is 80 percent Greek.
Earlier this week, the administration, apparently responding to Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit's threats to loosen Turkey's ties to NATO, shifted position and said it would seek to end the embargo. Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance is scheduled to testify on the administration proposal before a House international affairs subcommittee today.
At yesterday's press conference, Rosenthal said the administration's chances of getting its plan past its first hurdle - the House International Relations Committee - appeared to be "very close to an even-up situation."
But, he added, even if the committee approves the plan to lift the embargo, "a growing and significiant majority" of the House and Senate appear to be opposed.
That claim later was given weight by House Speaker Thomas P. (Tip) O'Neill Jr. (D-Mass.), who said that Carter, at a meeting yesterday with congressional leaders, made "a brief pitch for his position" on the embargo. However, O'Neill added, he intends to use his influence to oppose repeal.